How would you define your values? It’s not always an easy question to answer. Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live, relate to others and work. They should determine your priorities and how you live your life.
If you live in harmony with your values, life is usually good – you feel content and pretty satisfied. But when things you do or people around you don’t align with your values, things can feel wrong and you can begin to feel unhappy.
When navigating through life and making decisions, understanding your values can really help. So set some time aside today to work out your values.
Understanding your values
You may already have a pretty good idea what they are, in which case, start to write them down. If you are struggling, think of times you’ve been happiest, times you felt you’ve achieved, felt relaxed and content. What were you doing? Who were you with? This may give you a clue as to what you value. For example:
You are happiest when chatting with a close friend, opening up about how you both feel. You may value CLOSENESS and HONESTY.
You love sitting out in nature and painting. You may value SOLITUDE or CREATIVITY or BEING IN NATURE.
You felt elated when you climbed a mountain and overcame your fear of heights. You may value ACHIEVEMENT or COURAGE.
Also look at what you like in other people and why that is. This may give you further clues. For example:
You may like and respect your boss as she is always respectful to all staff and always takes time to listen to her team. You may value RESPECT and AN ABILITY TO CARE.
You may really admire your sister as she always looks on the bright side no matter how down she is. You may value POSITIVITY.
Go through and brainstorm as many values as you can that are important to you. You may also want to look at this list of 50 core values if you need more help.
Then start to break this down into a shortlist. See if you can come up with a top 10. Once you have your list, draw a table on a piece of paper with three columns, In the first column write your top ten values. In the second column write down a time when you’ve lived by this value and how it felt. Then in the third column write down a time when you or someone else went against this value and how it felt.
Being clear on your values can help you to live in line with them; bringing you more harmony, clarity and happiness.