How value identification can help the development of LGBT people

It was Carl Rogers who first coined the term introjected values in connection to our ‘conditions of worth’. He believed introjected values got in the way of people developing and becoming true to themselves.


In essence, we adopt the values others put onto us. They are the things we ‘should be’, ‘shouldn’t be’, ‘should do’, ‘shouldn’t do’. I have written elsewhere about the issues around ‘shoulding’ all over ourselves (see my article What are limiting beliefs? And how do we get rid of them?)

This has significant implication for many in the LGBT community who have for years been judged by, or taken on, the values of the dominant heteronormative society.


It is absolutely normal for us to hold interjected values. This is, after all, part and parcel of our socialisation process. So, in a mindfulness sense it is important to remember this and not beat ourselves up for holding introjective values. We need to accept we are imperfect and are on a journey towards becoming better.


The secret to identifying and dealing with introjected values is to raise our self-awareness (see my article The 5 Steps to Greater Self-Awareness)

There is a great, yet simple, framework I have recently been introduced to through Kain Ramsey’s Master Mindfulness Practitioner training, called the Core Identity Framework. This is a framework that can help disassociate us from those definitions others have placed on us, and that we have taken as our own.


There are three elements. The first two are the constructed you and are where your introjected values will sit:

  1. What (what you’ve done, the roles you’ve played. These are the social labels we tend to define ourselves by).
  2. How (how you have felt, how you feel, how you have conducted yourself, are conducting yourself) .


The third element is the true you, the you you are committed to being:

  1. Who (the true you. What am I committed to being? Who am I committed to being?).


As LGBT people how often have we experienced situations were someone makes an assumption your partner is someone of the opposite sex? More so, when they mishear the name (eg, Justin for Justine).


Already this puts us on the back step, questioning: Are they not at ease? Do they view lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans as unnatural, or wrong? Have they not accepted me for who I am? Bringing to the surface any limiting beliefs we have, potentially bringing defensiveness, tension and barriers, and re-enforcing our introjected values.

 In a coaching context, it is worth bearing in mind that we talk about two sets of values. Our aspirational values (those values we want to hold and enact, but rarely do) and our operational values (how we live our day to day life). The trick is to bring your aspirational and operational values into alignment.


You do this by identifying the first two aspects in relation to our introjected values, as mentioned in the framework above; the what and the how. Once we start to disassociate from these, we free ourselves up to find our true who.


Our true who are then our aspirational values we can begin to put into practice to work towards becoming better.


Bringing it all together


Self-awareness is the first step in our developmental journey. For many LGBT people who have lived their lives under inappropriate social labels this can be a difficult and challenging journey.


But, as John F Kennedy said “Ask not that the journey be easy; ask instead that it be worth it.”


You are worth it!

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