What do you value?
Values are important. Very important. They direct our decisions, goals, and behaviors. For a long time, I didn’t know what I valued. I never decided who I wanted to be. As a result, I’ve made decisions that I would not make now that I do know what I value.
I think this is such an important topic. We learn how to share with others, how to solve complex math problems, how to drive a car and so much more in our adolescent years. For the most part, I do not think we’re ever taught to identify and choose our values. If you’ve never set down to think through and identify your values you should.
We’re often in conflict with ourselves and our choices, because we don’t fully know what we value. Even if we do know what we value we don’t know the order in which we value them. We run through life at the speed of lightening doing, choosing, and deciding. A lot of times this doing, choosing and deciding is on autopilot. Ultimately, we reach a point where we aren’t where we want to be or we’ve neglected something that intrinsically we value but never realized. For example, take the woman or man who pursues their career aggressively at all costs and ends up neglecting and therefore losing their marriage. Or someone who emphasizing their social life but ends up drawing away from their relationship with God.
These are values and decisions issues. Do you value your career or your marriage or do you value both? Do you value your relationship with your friends or God or both? Which do you value more? Are you okay with losing one in favor of the other or would your prefer to keep both? Do your behaviors and decisions align with what you say you value and in the correct order? If they do not, where’s the disconnect? Are you saying you value something you really do not value? Is that why you are neglecting it? Or do you need to shift your actions and decisions to reflect your values?
Defining your true values and prioritizing your life around them isn’t necessarily easy. One reason for this is that you may just not know what you value. You might try to sit down and think through it. There is often so much “noise” in our heads and surroundings that masks our true values. You may find yourself asking some version of this question, “Do I value this because I value it or because my parents valued it?” Sometimes you may have a hard time deciphering what values are yours, what values where exposed or passed down to you and what “values” are really expectations others have on you.
Another reason why this process of defining and living our values is difficult is because our values shift throughout our life. Underneath the surface, in our subconscious mind we may know that our values are different than what they once were. The problem is that our conscious mind hasn’t yet made the connection and is still pursing antiquated goals based on antiquated values. Returning to the example above of the businessperson, there may have been a time when they did value their career above all else. That is until they found love and got married. Now they value their career and their marriage but they’re still pursing goals based on the former values.
Everything that we do is driven by something. If we haven’t decided what we value and made a commitment to live by them the things we do won’t be the best thing for us a lot of the times. I’ve made decisions in my life that I really didn’t want to make simply because I didn’t know how to say no. I valued following through on what someone else expected me to do over what I really wanted to do. If I would have known what my values were it would have been easier to say to myself and to the other person, “I can’t do that because it doesn’t align with my values.” But because my values had not been defined, other than a gut reaction or resistance in the center of my heart, I had a hard time moving in the direction of those true values. Not knowing what I stood for and who I wanted to be has led me astray many, many times.
I firmly believe when you know who you are and what you value you’ll have less regrets later. Decide right now what things and people you value. What are your guiding life principles? Live by these.
IT Statement (Inspiring and Transformational)
I live by my values.
Not sure what you value? Sign up for a complimentary clarity call with me. I help women just like you discover their true self (and values) so they can transform into the person they were always meant to be. Sign up on the Work with Charlene page.