Week 3 Days

Know Your Values | Day 15

What do you most value, and is your life a reflection of that?

Our values can’t be things we pay lip service to; they need to be about living from our integrity and taking action on what we care about, and also getting clear and practical in the decisions we make in the world.

Personal integrity is all about aligning our values with our choices. It’s about expressing what we are most committed to cultivating within ourselves. For example, creativity is huge in my life. I’ve chosen to live a life based on creativity rather than the status quo. So every time I am called upon to make a major (or even minor) choice, I stop and ask myself if I’m letting my values lead the way.

When you are connected to what you most value in a tangible way, you automatically have the resources you need to make informed and conscious choices. Getting connected with your values takes time and a great deal of self-inquiry. I know that I had to ask myself the tough questions about what I valued in different areas of my life over a period of years. For example, I used to think that I wanted a “spiritual” partner, but now I’ve realized that having a grounded, consistent, and loyal partner is more important to me than what he does or doesn’t believe in. I had to check what I’d been taught to want versus what was actually important to me. Only through looking at my own experiences and getting curious about my needs did I learn to understand my specific values. Then, I was able to look at how they showed up in all the different buckets of my life.

Activity

Take several minutes to write down a list of your most cherished values. Include what you value in a variety of different areas of your life. You can refer to such categories as Work, Finances, Lifestyle, Relationship, Community, Recreation, Spirituality, Politics, and Physical Health when making your list. Go through your list and think about whether or not each value is truly yours, or if it’s something you inherited from friends, family, or society in general. What do you gain by having this value? How do you express this value in your life? Narrow your values down to three to five that genuinely resonate with who you are and offer you the essence of what you want for yourself. Now, using those key words, create your own declaration of values. It might be a sentence long, or several paragraphs. An example of a concise declaration of values is: “Connection, collaboration, and full respect for my own agency and autonomy, as well as for the freedom of those around me, guide my choices,” or “I approach all obstacles in my life as opportunities for developing compassion, creativity, and resilience.” Post that statement in a place where you will see it often, as reminders of our values are always powerful.

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