Thursday, April 25, 2013

Q&A with Amy!

Q: The other day I was asked what my values were, and I really value being thin--- more than anything else I can think of.  Is this such a bad thing?

A: Hmmm, I think I want to challenge this value.  Remember that there are two types of values: intrinsic and instrumental values

An intrinsic value is not a way to obtaining something else, like gratitude.  Being grateful is good just because it’s good to be grateful, not because being grateful leads to anything else. 

Whereas an instrumental value is intended to obtain something else.  Money is an instrumental value because you can use it to get something else.  Make sense? 

Thinness is yet another instrumental value.  People think that thinness brings other qualities they may find valuable.  In other words, it’s not thinness, but what thinness represents that you may find valuable, such as being successful, accomplished, disciplined, controlled, etc.

A good way to decide whether your value is intrinsic or instrumental is to ask yourself, “if I were stranded on a desert island, would this be of any use to me?”  Being smart, strong, and healthy are intrinsic values that would be excellent in this situation.  But being thin is pretty useless, especially with no one around to validate it, don’t you think?

So, ask yourself what is it that you’re trying to achieve through being thin.  Do you want admiration and respect?  How else can you obtain this sort of validation? Do you value health?  Being thin, especially through unhealthy methods such as bingeing and purging, certainly isn’t going to help you attain this value.

Your values are like your GPS as you navigate through life.  Whenever you come to a crossroads, a place where a decision is needed, ask yourself, “will this bring me closer to or further away from what I value?”  I believe that acting in accordance with your intrinsic values is the key to a rich and meaningful life.

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