For the last two months we have been discussing the importance of identifying your values and responding to the need that you innately have to honour and act upon these value ideals. We started by making a list of 5-10 value characteristics (family, spirituality, health, career, etc.) and then moved into the more specific task of actually figuring out some activities to help you foster these values in your life on a regular and predictable basis. The ultimate goal is to become intentional about recognizing, developing and scheduling these aspects into your life to a greater degree in order to feel more balanced, fulfilled and, ultimately, more empowered and joyful.
People, businesses and certainly television programming depict values that contradict and challenge us on a daily, if not minute-by-minute basis. Most often we are able to accept the differing values of others and carry on without being intolerant and dismissive, but it’s important to be able to recognize and critically think about what is going on underneath the surface so that we can identify what exactly is making us feel uncomfortable. This allows us to be able to respond calmly and thoughtfully instead of being reactive and defensive. In the same way that we can be comfortable with and attracted to people who have similar values to us, we can also be repelled by those with values that are so different from our beliefs that we have difficulty interacting. This might lead to avoidance of certain individuals or it might lead you to quit a job if you don’t feel that your values are being respected or appropriately represented by the company. For instance, if a company claims to stand behind its motto to support and advocate for individuals, yet you don’t see that evident in their daily operation, this might leave you feeling uncomfortable, misaligned and even confused about your role in the company. If you aren’t able to align your beliefs with the company’s practices, you might find it necessary to leave and look for a better employment fit elsewhere.
Ultimately, it’s most important to recognize and understand our own values. Having this knowledge and being comfortable with our own sense of who we are and what our values are will allow us to be open to others’ beliefs and honest when values differ. When we meet others and certainly prior to marriage - or even looking for a roommate or babysitter, for that matter - it’s important to gain a sense of what their values are. One way is to listen to what they express is important to them, however, you can also ask lots of questions about how they would respond under certain circumstances and what they feel are values that they would like to see in other people. ‘Scruples’ is a great game you can play to gain some insight into what motivates people and what is important to them. It can lead to some great debates too!
As we mature and as our life situations change, our values and beliefs shift as well. Take time to update your beliefs and respond to your needs by identifying your most important values. This will help you to gain knowledge and understanding about the most important person you need to align with absolutely - yourself!
Good luck and have fun with it.
“When you know who you truly are, there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is: vibrantly alive peace. That is the joy of Being, being who you truly are.” Eckhart Tolle