Personal Code Of Ethics
Trying on personalities and playing with points of view are essential to character creation, regardless of whether you're a writer, an actor or an improviser. This exploratory work can be done by anyone, and can help any human being increase their ability to empathize with others.
One of my favorite things in exploratory work is finding the interesting ways in which my character sees the world. I love exploring what my character stands for. Does she talk a big game but can't live up to her word? Is she a hero that pushes aside self-doubt to save others at the risk of getting hurt or killed?
When I meet new people in real life, I love uncovering what people stand for. It's one thing to SAY you stand for something - we can discuss philosophy all day! - yet it's so much more important to stand behind those words with your actions.
I didn't always have a firm grasp of what I stood for. I observe other people, and am fascinated by the ones who have created their own code and live by it.
Many people don't have clear codes and come across as hypocritical. I learned I cannot respect that, although I understand it.
There are people who have strong values because they were raised that way and had been able to practice from an early age thanks to parents who modeled the behavior and thus encouraged it.
I love my parents. They are beautiful living spiritual guides in their own right. I was raised in a codependent household where depression ran rampant. Values were important to speak of and blindly follow through on without question, but the codependency inherent in my folks' relationship seemed to perpetuate frustrating cycles in their relationship model, and their behaviors were confusing for me as a kid. I'm speaking in general terms because the point isn't to talk about my childhood; rather it's an example of confusing messages in childhood during formative years that sent me into a search for what's real.
Besides, no matter how hard our parents try, it's easy to think that they could have done things differently to set ourselves up for success. It's harder to do what matters - redirect the victim mentality, make it your quest to find out who you are, and follow through on your truths. Does this sound easier said than done? OF COURSE! All I've given you are words to consider. Practicing a little bit each day is what will turn your truths into habit. (DON'T BE SURPRISED if you begin questioning other people's behavior once you've started practicing!)
What is EASY? Speaking and thinking.
Thinking about changing things, and not pulling the trigger
Talking about ideas
Daydreaming about who we want to be
What matters? Action.
What we DO
How we treat ourselves
How we treat other people
Leaving our environment a bit more beautiful when we leave it
As an actor, I can spend 40+ hours a week THINKING about my character, talking about wants, needs, drives, etc., but if I cannot convey who my character is through action, then maybe none of those hours actually matter. It's an actor's job to communicate through action. Words are just words, right? Words are why we are taught to explore subtext, because characters, just like people in real life, say YES when they really want to say NO.
My practice in daily life involves constantly checking in with myself:
Is my intent pure?
Does YES Mean NO?
Yeah? SAY NO!
Do I mean what I am about to say?
If not - don't say it!
Pin that and question it later, love!
I ask you, beautiful you:
Do your words represent you?
Do you stand for something greater than yourself?
I do not have children, but I imagine I would assign them this, as I had assigned myself around 8 months ago in an effort to get to know myself better post-long-term-relationship-separation: Create your code of Ethics, and put them into daily practice.
What are your truths?
What are your values?
What do you stand for?
What is important to you?
How will you act upon your values?
In what ways will you act to uphold your values?
In what ways do you act to uphold your values?
In what ways can you see yourself reacting in situations where you your values are pushed
In what ways will you recover if you've realized you've committed an un-truth to yourself?
This is bound to happen, especially if we're hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. The goal is always to be gentle with yourself, and continue to practice your truths.