Do you often find yourself feeling dissatisfied with your life, a bit unsettled, or a form of unease for no apparent reason? If so, it might be because you are living out of alignment with your personal values. This can happen when we make decisions to please others or in response to societal pressure. When you behave in sync with your values, you are more empowered to live your best, most fulfilling life and become the person you deeply want to be. So, how do we discover which values are really important to us? We start by understanding what they are and WHY they are important. Read on for some powerful insight.
What Are Values?
The Oxford dictionary defines values as “principles or standards of behaviour: one’s judgment of what is important in life. ”That’s not a bad definition, but let’s dive a little deeper. So, what are values? Values are the most fundamental beliefs that influence our mindset and behaviour. Each value we identify reflects a quality we sincerely want to embody. They are the unspoken – and often subconscious – rules that dictate who we are, how we treat ourselves and others, and how we interact with our world. In a nutshell, values are the internal navigation system that helps us reach the desired destination. Of course, it is important to remember that values are not universal. Each person does not subscribe to the same set of values. That is where personal values come in.
Every individual has unique personal values. In the grand scheme of things, no one’s values are “better” than anyone else’s. All that matters is that these concepts are relevant to you on an authentic level. Generally, our values are formed when we are young and influenced by those who raised us. They may reflect our upbringing, culture, or religion. However, values aren’t set in stone. They can ebb and flow according to your life circumstances, and you may discover new values as you evolve as a person.There are hundreds – perhaps thousands – of words describing all the possible values. Here are a few examples:
- Financial freedom
Why Knowing Your Values Is Important
Most people go through life without giving much thought to their values. Even though they don’t specifically ask ‘what are values that are important to me,’ they will still have a set of values. These hidden values still impact their decisions, thoughts and actions, but only subconsciously. When we don’t fully comprehend or appreciate our personal values, we may not live in alignment with them. As a result, we can experience discomfort, depression, a lack of purpose, and feelings of restlessness. If you are feeling lost, dissatisfied, or out of sorts, it may be because you aren’t in sync with your values. When we are able to identify what’s truly and deeply important to us, we can consciously think and act in a truly authentic and fulfilling way. Knowing our values and practicing awareness of how they play out in various parts of our lives is essential to help us find the flow in our lives. For example, if you value adventure yet choose a job and living situation that prevents you from being adventurous, you are likely to feel trapped, stifled and resentful. Or perhaps you value a career but gave in to the pressure to stay at home and raise a family. As hard as you try, this disconnect won’t be fulfilling if you don’t get the chance to honour your value.
How To Discover Your Values
The first step to discovering your values is understanding what is a value and what isn’t. One way to help you figure this is out is to ask yourself if something can be physically moved or not. For example, ‘money’ can be moved (even virtually), so it’s not a value. Instead, ask yourself what specifically about money is significant to you. Perhaps it is financial stability that you value, or perhaps the freedom provided by the money. Defining your values will require mindfulness, awareness, and a bit of work as you examine your life, your decisions, and your behaviour.
Start by looking at your morals, which are closely linked to your values. Look back at the times when you were happiest in your life, as those were the occasions where you were most likely living in alignment with your values. Journalling is a fantastic way to connect you to your values. This practice allows you to explore how they affect your life and how you can make changes– even tiny ones – that bring you more into alignment with your values.
If you would like some inspiration to get started on discovering your values, download my free resource containing 10 powerful journal prompts to help you unearth your values.
Ready to dive deeper into your values?
Book a 2-hour Unlock Your Personal Core Values session. In this 2 hour session I will help you uncover your top 10 core personal values and you will become aware why you may not be satisfied with certain areas of your life and why other areas are going amazingly well.