Been thinking about my core values. Or trying to — it’s hard to think past anxiety and depression. But I believe it’s so very important to live an authentic life. I have spent too much time being afraid to be myself 100% of the time. I don’t want to live that way the rest of my life.

I can’t do anything about the state of the world. But I can do something about how I live in it.

I know that I value human rights and personal autonomy — the right of every person to live his or her life according to his or her values, in the way that brings him or her the most satisfaction and contentment. If a person lives his or her life without causing harm to others, he or she should receive no condemnation from others.

I value human lives — thus I believe that it is important for every person to have access to medical care and comprehensive health education, regardless of that person’s social or financial circumstances. When every person is given the opportunity to understand how his or her body and mind works, and what its needs are, he or she can make the best decisions for his or her physical and emotional well-being.

I value education — providing every person the tools and skills to encounter, understand critically, and utilize whatever information he or she needs, and to gain from it the knowledge and wisdom to be productive and happy members of society. From ignorance comes fear. And fear is a powerful weapon for those who know how to wield it.

Likewise, I value reason over emotion. “Feeling” that something is true does not make it true. History, the physical and social sciences, and the arts and humanities have recorded all that humanity has learned. Ignoring that record of knowledge in favor of (often highly-charged) emotions leads to a society governed by fear, hate, and anger.

Instead of fearing the unknown, embrace the fact that there is so much left to learn. Instead of hating those who are different, try to understand them and empathize with them. And instead of letting anger control you, view the world with compassion.

Every person has his or her own path. Instead of blocking the way, try lighting it.