In order to build anything in life, you require a strong foundation; the key to creating a life you love is to create your life upon the foundation of your values. What are core values? What are the benefits of core values? How do I identify my core values? Think of a retaining wall, each stone is carefully placed upon the row beneath giving support to the row above and holding back the earth on the other side. Each stone has an integral part to play much like the values we hold and navigate our lives.
What are Values?
How do you define your values? Your Values are the building blocks of who you are, not who you want to be or who others expect you to be. It is impossible to be true to yourself unless you know who you are. We often go through life without carefully considering and identifying what truly matters to us; more often than not, we are living by the values of a more dominant partner or parent. When you carefully consider and clarify what really matters, you know what you stand for and only then are you free to live and create a life you love with balance, fulfilment and ultimately less stress.
The Benefits of Core Values
Life is much easier when you acknowledge your values and consider them when setting goals as well as making decisions. If you value integrity but are living a life according to the expectations of others, you will experience an internal conflict, which expresses itself through stress. These moments of stress highlight an imbalance between your actions and core values. When you understand your core values, you can use them to set goals and make important life choices about how you are going to live and the standards you will set for yourself and the people within your world.
Identifying Your Core Values
As I look back on my life I spent years living my life by the values of other more dominant people. I had well-meaning people in my life you would tell me on a regular basis, this is what we believe, nevertheless as I grew older and wiser, I began to notice that it was difficult for me to live my life by these values. My life was a struggle, I was unhappy and nothing excited me. I now realise, the life I was living was not in tune with my core values. When you live a life that is in harmony with your core values, your life is balanced, you live with a sense of fulfilment and your life is relatively stress-free.
Your values are your unique essence, an individual way of being and relating to the people within your world. To discover your values, you need to dig deep. Ask yourself, do my actions mirror what is important to me. Quite often, our words, actions and how we spend our time, reveal our true core values. Here are some of the tried and tested methods I used to identify my core values and lived by them.
1. Reflect Upon Your Life Moments
Think of situations where you felt you were being to true to yourself. Reflect upon these moments in detail. Ask yourself, how do I feel in this situation and what values was I expressing. Reflect upon the moments where you were happiest, proud, fulfilled and satisfied. Write at least five of these occasions down in a journal. Ask yourself the following questions: What were you doing? Who was involved? What events, actions or moments contributed to these feelings? Write these down in a journal
2. Identify Your Values based upon these experiences
Ask yourself, why are these moments memorable or important to you. How did these moments change you? List ten core values that you feel represent, who you are; write these down in a journal as well
3. Integrate Your Values into Your Life
Describe five activities or action you can take within the next seven days, that will integrate more of your values into your life. If creativity is a core value for you, think of more ways to bring creativity into your life. It is important to take immediate action. Do not put off taking action to tomorrow, because tomorrow will become someday.
Think of moments or areas in your life where you are not living up to your values. Ask yourself, what action can I take in order to start living up to my core values? Write these down, and take action over the next seven days. If honesty is a core value for you, own up to areas in your life where you are not being honest with yourself, and seek to correct this.
Are you guilty of not always living according to your values? In what ways can you tilt the balance towards living a life in harmony with your values?
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