In the last blog we looked at self worth and and how it relate to the value we place on ourselves. Following on from that, we’ll explore values, how we determine what’s important to us and why.
If we were asked the question - What are your top 10 values? We would probably answer in different ways. Based on our life experiences and priorities, our value system is as individual as we are - but what exactly are values?
Values are a way of describing what’s most important to us in life and often determine our day-to day and overall priorities. These priorities are likely to determine how close we feel our life is to what we deem perfect. Values can also cover human qualities and traits - such as loyalty, that we may pride ourselves on and govern the interactions we have with others. When our values and way of life is in alignment, we are happy and content, when this isn’t the case, things can feel 'off' or wrong and make us feel we are ‘failing’ in life. In other words our values are often closely linked with our personal idea of success. A lack of alignment can impact on our self worth.
For this reason it’s important to recognise our values and understand their importance to us. Once clear on those, we can make informed decisions about how we live, the direction we want to take and our life goals.
In order to identify what we value, a good place to start is by looking at what makes us feel happy, proud or fulfilled and the times in or life we felt that way. There are likely to be times that stand out in our memory as times we were at our happiest or most content . It’s then worth assessing why these experiences made us feel that way using a list of values.
You can access a list of over 400 values here.
Once clear on which values resonate, the next step is to prioritise our top values until we have a top 8-10 which we would then want to place in order of importance to identify the level of importance each value has in our life.
Two people can have the same 10 values on their list but place different emphasis on some over others. Both may have family and career on their list but the person who has children is probably more likely to prioritise family over career, meaning that spending quality time with family will take priority over spending time building a career. If this person is currently working a job that doesn’t allow for spending quality time with their partner and children, they are likely to feel guilty and unfulfilled because their lifestyle isn’t in alignment with their value system.
In relationships we may hold loyalty in higher regard than dependability and therefore will be more tolerant of lateness than a betrayal.
Whatever is on our list, our values should make us feel good about ourselves and give a sense of integrity about who we are and what means the most to us.
When we are clear about our values and consider them in our decision making, we maintain our sense of integrity and make decisions with confidence and clarity, which allows us to feel good about ourselves and has a positive impact on our self-value making for a more satisfied and happy life.
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