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  • Writer's pictureAbbie VanMeter

How Did This Get Made? | Daily Mindful Moment #14

Consider an interaction, event, or episode in your own life. Take some time today to use three questions to reflect:

  1. How did this get made?

  2. What are we making now?

  3. What can we do to make a better social world?

Barnett Pearce, one of the creators of the Coordinated Management of Meaning theory, came up with these questions to encompass the journey that CMM takes us on. We can use CMM to (1) reflect on the past, (2) acknowledge the present, and (3) look to the future.

Here is an example from my own life:

I know that have values around self-sufficiency, productivity, and efficiency.

  1. How did this get made?

Well, I can recognize that my dad is also someone who values being productive and self-sufficient. For example, instead of telling me to "have a great day" he always says, "make it a great day." The difference being that the second one emphasizes my personal power to control outcomes. I see my dad struggle to rest because he always needs to be doing something. I also recognize that these ideas did not start with him. I don't know the full story, but I can imagine ways that my grandparents (his parents) may have instilled these values in him.

2. What are we making now?

Because I have mirrored the same values that my dad holds, I also struggle to feel like I am deserving of rest. I do work that I enjoy, but I also recognize that I work too hard sometimes, to the point where I'm sacrificing other experiences so that I can "prove myself" by being overly committed to being productive. I am making for myself a life that connects my value to how productive I am.

3. What can we do to make better social worlds?

While I do want to keep some of my values around being self-sufficient, I don't want to keep defining my value or worth through the work I am able to produce or what I am able to achieve. In order to make a better world for myself, I hope to be able to start incorporating rest in my life, so that I can find a balance between play and work. This would be a better social world for me because I would be able to live a healthier and happier life. Also, I don't want to pass on a hyper-fixation on productivity. If I can question my own thoughts and feelings around productivity, I can start to change the way I view value and productivity in others as well. Overall, a better social world for me would be one where I can enjoy the spoils of both work and rest, one where I do not define my worth by how much I do or don't do, and one where I reaffirm the value of having a balance between rest and work for others as well. Something I want to do more of in order to work toward that better social world is to be more intentional in making time to rest and play.

Use these questions to reflect on values you have, the quality of your relationships, what certain things mean to you, struggles you have, and even individual conversations.

Once you have done this practice, consider it all through a communication perspective. How were the messages communicated to you? How do you communicate your values, thoughts, or feelings? What story are you telling through your actions? What kind of story do you want to be telling?

Taking the time to self-reflect shouldn't be considered a luxury. It can be really valuable, so it is important to try to make the time to incorporate the practice into your everyday life. You deserve to understand yourself and those around you better, so that you can strengthen your relationships and build the kind of social world you want.

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