Lately I feel conflicted a lot. How can I make things better? My life seems upside down and I don’t see an end to it. Signed,
Topsy Turvey Dear Topsy,
I’m sorry to hear that life has been a challenge for you lately. I’ve heard it said that in order to appreciate the good times, it helps to have experienced particularly low times. The lower we get, the more we can appreciate and savour those less challenging times. But that kind of thinking likely doesn’t do much for you right now. When we live our lives in ways that don’t reflect our personal values, it can lead very quickly to conflicted feelings, self-doubt, anxiety and depression. If this lack of alignment continues over a prolonged period of time, there might also be a breakdown in relationships, challenges at work and problems with sleep along with all sorts of personal health issues like weight loss, weight gain, skin problems, headaches and digestive issues. One way to attempt to better sort out your life and your goals and intentions is to create a list of your life values. You can create a list by prioritizing not only what characteristics are important in your life, but by outlining specific details about what exactly you want to accomplish in your life (we’ll go into this in more detail next issue). Here is a short list of some values – you can do a Google search and find hundreds more if you want to get more detailed and specific.
Relationships Success Compassion Spirituality Fun Adventure Wealth Learning Family Career Health Peace
Once you have created a random list of your areas of priority, you can number them in order of importance. To see how your shift in feeling can change quite dramatically through this process of ordering the values, try reversing the list. For example, if you take five values from above in order of preference from most important to least important (Family, Relationships, Fun, Compassion, Career, Wealth) and reverse the order (Wealth, Career, Fun, Relationships, Family) notice how the shift changes and how your internal comfort level shifts when you reverse your priorities and think about how that would change the focus and balance of your current life situation. It’s that internal comfort level that you need to acknowledge in order to help alleviate the topsy turvey feeling. Use that feeling as a barometer in steering you to areas of your life that you have not been paying attention to and, in turn, have been suffering because of this lack of attention.
It’s alright for values to shift over time and that is to be expected. Through the very nature of life and transition it is essential to expect some change in priorities, beliefs and values throughout even a year of life. Because of this need to adapt and flex with the complexities of our lives and changes in circumstance, it’s a good idea to periodically re-evaluate your values and re-prioritize them.
Next month we can visit how values can be used to further improve the quality of your life and help you attain greater balance. For now you can get started on creating your values list – shoot for 5-10 values or so, but go for the gusto if you want to do more!