“Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I have an important question to ask you:
Examples of values: Love, Education, Family, Faith, Wisdom, Power, Finances, Security, Safety, Compassion, Kindness, Health, Fitness, Peace, Hope. Ethics. Experience, Stability, Trust, Harmony, Imagination, Creativity, Wealth, Achievement.
This list of options varies greatly so I encourage you to click on this link and circle your top five.
This should feel like a challenging task.
And then, I encourage you to define what those words mean to you. Because, what Love means to me and what Love means to you are undoubtedly different (as we are different people).
With words like love, courage, and faith, have to put them into context or they don’t make sense. I call that “pulling them down from the rafters”
We do this exercise to have a clearer idea of who we are and what we stand for.
There are no wrong answers.
Why are you doing all of this?
Because our values influence how we see the world, how we interact with one another and how we give and take advice.
Here are some examples of values in action:
In terms of power as a value, it does not rank in my top five or even my top ten. Again, there are no right or wrong values, we need CEOs, managers, and directors in the world and power would be an important value for someone in one of those positions. But, if I were asked to apply for a position that would require me to highly value power I would probably say no or not do well in that position.
Now, if you value power, you might tell me to apply for that position because from your perspective and given your values, power is important. This advice would be consistent with your values.
However, because I know that it does not rank highly on my list I know better than to take your advice. Because I’ve done a value assessment, I would also be aware that your values were guiding your suggestions. So, I would politely listen to you but not follow your direction. This does not mean you are wrong and I am right. We just value certain aspects of life differently.
Let me try again.
I love adventure. Some people I share time with love security/safety more than they love adventure. So, when I mention something I’m interested in (like shark diving). They look at me like my hair is on fire. If I did not know that I valued adventure I might take your reaction to mean there is something wrong with me.
Values exist on on a continuum. It is not that I do not value power at all but rather I don’t value it as highly as other things. It’s not to say that just because you don’t want to go shark diving you don’t value adventure.
Some values change over time as your life circumstances change. It’s important to reassess every few years to see what comes up.
The key is to take the time to get to know yourself. We are motivated by our values even if we are not aware that we are. If we don’t have this awareness we can force our values on people close to us and think we’re right in doing so. Or we can let other people guide our lives by following their values.
If you have a clear idea of your values and the goals attached to living consistently with those values you will feel more confident about the choices you make.
I also recommend that you to share this assignment with the person and/or persons you spend the most time with (like your partner and/or best friends). It might help illuminate points of contention in the relationship or why it works so well.
Living consistent with our values is something we’ll keep talking about on SissyBeard but if you want more information, please look into working with a therapist that practices Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. These clinicians focus on valued living.