We all have personal values or beliefs. And knowing what they are can help guide us through life. When we don’t seek to discover them or don't honour them, then we can potentially go about our days feeling frustrated and like something is missing. Like we aren't reaching our full potential.
In a way, I think our values are perhaps the key to discovering purpose. The ‘why’ we are here.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
– Mark Twain
Values act as a compass. When we have an understanding of them we can navigate life with our values gently guiding us, helping us make decisions. And taking actions which align closely to what is meaningful.
They help us gain clarity. And clarity helps us create a life we love.
Throughout the years our values may change. But there may be one or two that are consistent over time.
For me, they are calm and beauty.
I appreciate physical environments that feel calm and look aesthetically beautiful. I gravitate towards relationships that feel calm and beautiful. I endeavour to create beauty and a sense of calm through my work. I feel happiest when I help others feel calm and appreciate beauty.
If I look back at the difficult times in my life, it’s often when I’m not honouring these values. I feel really confused and unclear. Uninspired or detached from my work. Out of harmony with my surrounding or relationships. When I’m surrounded by chaos and tension, I feel miserable and disconnected with who I am.
So I know when life begins to spiral in this direction, that to bring myself back to my most content self, I need to remind myself of these two core values. And take action to align with them again.
So what about yours? Do you know what they are?
If not then it’s perhaps worth discovering.
And when you do narrow it down to the essential two or three, let them absorb. Let them guide your decisions in life. And take the necessary actions that build a life that honours them.
If you value freedom, then work towards creating space in your day-to-day. Perhaps it means letting go of tasks that are unnecessary. Creating systems that streamline your business or life. Or maybe it's taking the plunge to go freelance rather than working for someone else.
If loyalty is your value, then you practice being loyal to others. You act on your promises and deliver. You treat others with respect and show support.
If simplicity is your value then you simplify - your daily tasks, the foods you eat, your surrounding etc. You go about your day with simplicity as an undertone for all that you do.
And when faced with a difficult decision it helps to refer to them. Does deciding one way or the other align more with your core values? It might help a decision become clearer and easier to act on.
Sometimes we have to make decisions that are not completely within our control, or that align perfectly with our values. It's here that we can practice acceptance, and understanding that it won't always be this way. That perhaps right now we can't live completely honouring our values. But we keep it gently in our mind. Over time situations may change, and we can again move forward living closely to them.