Updated: Aug 28, 2020
We can often feel lost and directionless. We forget what our values are. Considering what our values are and committing to actions based on those is one of the ways of living a better life.
Values are what give our lives meaning.
In goal-based living we strive towards some goal, we achieve it and then move on to a new goal. In values-based living we live in the moment according to those things that are most important to us. Often we have arrows pulling us in different directions. Paying to attention to values helps all the arrows in our life point in the same direction. Decisions are easier and the small things don't bother us as much.
We can accomplish goals but we live by values.
Values can also help you get through difficulties. For instance if I am doing a project at work that I find boring - I can refer to my value of Contributing. I then may realise that through my work I am contributing to my colleagues - or my patients - and the boring work becomes easier to tolerate. So you can choose to apply your values to what you are doing.
Do you know what your values are? I certainly didn’t until I started specifically thinking about them.
Here is a short list of values. Try picking 5 that are important to you. Then try to narrow it down to 3. Come back to your list of 3 tomorrow and see if they feel right. If they do then think about how you can apply these values in your day-to-day life.
It might help to answer some of the questions below to help you think about your values
Fun and leisure time. What type of activities do I find fun? What do I want to be doing with my free time? Is fun important to me?
Career. What kind of work do I enjoy? What kind of work do I think is important? In my current work what do I think is valuable?
Family relationships. What kind of son/daughter/parent/sibling do I want to be?
Intimate relationships? What kind of partner do I want to be? How do I want my partner to view me?
Personal development. What kind of person do I want to be? What kinds of skills, qualities do I want to build? How do I go about doing this? Think about a person you admire. How would you be more like them?
Community. How do I want to contribute to my community, extended family, workplace?
Try to ask yourself these types of questions for the other values listed above. Let us know your answers on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter (wakeywakeytv).
"When we act against our values what needs are being met?"
For instance I may speak ill of a colleague with a friend at work. This goes against my value of kindness but it feels good in the moment because I am connecting with a friend. Later it may make me feel guilty or upset because I don't like to think of myself as unkind. But in the moment another need was being met - that of connection . How could I have approached this encounter differently and in a way that is in accordance with my values?"