Know Your Values and Be Valuable
What comes to mind when you think of your values? To some, they may think of family, wealth, power, loyalty. For others, they may think of nothing at all. Therapists often talk of values and their importance but what are they really? Not so much as give an example, but what’s at the root of our values?
In the simplest of terms, our values are our internal compass. They tell us when we are on the right path, and it just feels wrong when we are not in line with our values. Values are how we want to live our lives; they are what we stand for and strive to uphold. They give us direction and help gain a sense of meaning, purpose, and well-being. Our values essentially are at the core of our Way and our Path.
So, hopefully, you can see the importance of identifying and working within our values? When we are not, or at least don’t feel like we are, on our Path we create distress in our lives. We start to feel guilt and shame for not living up to our values and fear and anxiety around what’s going to happen next.
In order to live based on our values, however, we need to explore them. We can Google and come up with list after list of values but this tends to not be the best way. Instead, start by asking yourself questions:
- Think of a time when you felt you were doing an amazing job at life. You were making strong connections with others; you were proud; you had a sense of accomplishment and success. Now ask yourself, “What was I DOING at that point?” Were you being honest? Kind? Trustworthy? Spending time with friends and family? Our actions often can help shine light on what we value most.
- If you won the lottery and suddenly had more money than you could possibly spend in your lifetime what would you do with your life? Every financial need is taken care of, so do you spend your time traveling? Cooking? With family? Painting? Volunteering? Get a bunch of tattoos? Munching on potato chips on the couch? Now ask, “What does this say about me as a person?” If you would spend your time traveling does that mean you’re adventurous? If you love volunteering does that mean you’re compassionate?
- What areas of your life are lacking? When do you look at your day to day life, where are the gaps? Be careful not to answer this question based on what friends, family, or society thinks. Tap into your own experience. What areas do YOU feel are lacking? Where are YOUR gaps? Once you identify those look at each one and see what values connect to those. If you have a constant sense of boredom what value is not being fulfilled? Are you needing to feed your curiosity? Passion? Courage? Love?
These questions can be difficult to explore and may need to be frequently readdressed and explored. If you need help try asking friends and family get a conversation going. Write them in a journal. Talk to a therapist. Exploring our values gives us the ability to live by them. It gives us a direction and once we have a direction we can truly begin to Bloom.
Disclaimer: This blog is designed for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes. It not meant to be a substitute for any mental health or medical treatment. If you need a doctor or therapist please find one near you. Please do not attempt to do anything without your doctor and therapist or other professionals go ahead and remember to use common sense. Photos from Pixabay.com