What are Values?

What are your values?  Where do they come from? Try this- with your eyes closed imagine you are wandering through a very dark wooded area.  You certainly cannot see anything.  You are stumbling along, tripping on unseen obstacles, running into trees and being hit by branches.  How does this make you feel?  Is it important to you to know where you are going?  Do you have any sense of direction?

Without a sense of direction, you  may feel lost and without purpose.   Maybe you’re confused, even frustrated or angry.

 Imagine this is your life. 

Are you blindly going through your life not knowing where you are going, with no sense of direction or purpose? Are you getting angry and frustrated because you don’t know where you are, or where you want to be?

When you don’t have clear values it is like wandering blindly through a forest. You are stumbling along, getting banged up, not sure of where you are going, and although you may end up somewhere, it may not be where you really want to be.

Why is clarification so important?

When you clarify your true values, you understand yourself better, allowing you to make better decisions & choices, and this leads to a richer, more fulfilling life.

When you are aligned with your values, life feels great!   Having clear values is like having a compass, it is right there in your hands, waiting for you to take a step in the right direction.

How are your values being played out in your life?  Which values are not being actualized?
Peaks in Golden Gate State Park Spring

Defining your Values

What is a value? Webster’s Dictionary defines values as ‘something (as in a principle or a quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable’. It is something unique to you – your unique and individual essence. They are not morals, spiritual guidelines, or ‘shoulds’.

For example, I value independence, freedom, spaciousness and expression. I enjoy the flexibility and autonomy to make my own decisions, adjust my schedules, work and play in a way that is honorable to me. So I’ve made life choices that align with these values. When I don’t get these, when I feel I am being boxed in, or those values aren’t being honored (for myself, or in the world), I feel disregarded, stifled, or uncomfortable in my body and mind. When I am not aligned, it feels like something is missing or wrong, maybe even lost.

How to identify your true values?

Best way to find your values is to look toward your activities, interests, & sources of fulfillment which you are naturally drawn. What’s really important to you?  Also, look at your day-to-day actions and interactions, what values can you spot there?

We’re looking for clarity in what values are truly yours. There are a lot of noble and socially acceptable values out there, maybe ones society deems we have, you may like to have, our parents have told us we should have.  If there is a ‘should’ involved, or you include/exclude things society deems appropriate, this may not truly your value (it may be someone else’s, but not yours).

Clarifying values may not be easy.  This may be your biggest challenge, and why so many people enable the services of a life coach. Such a professional works with you to help clarify what your true values are and then supports you in taking action to follow a path that is in alignment with your values.

Where to look for your true values?

Peak Moments Look at a snapshot when life was good, those are times when a value was being honored, those brief moments of time when life was especially rewarding or exciting.
Opposite ExtremeLook at what frustrates/agitates you, what value was being suppressed?

Woman dancing wildly

Honoring your values

How do you know if you are honoring your values? Are your goals and actions in line with your values? Ask yourself this: If I choose this path/take this action, does it align with my values?

If you honor your values, life is magical, feeling full and satisfied; if you neglect your values you might be feeling frustrated, agitated, drained, empty or even numb!

Another way to see if you are honoring, list your values and evaluate (1-10) which are being honored. Ask yourself what would you need to do to have these scores be a 10.

Once you have clarified values, set goals based on your values, then create actions that fulfill your goals. By following this process, you will be honoring your values, and life will be fulfilling!

*Remember, this is a journey. This process of self-discovery takes time and reflection. Once you clarify your true values, you will understand yourself better, then you can make better choices for your life.

When you are aligned with your values, your purpose in life becomes clear.  Your values are your compass leading you to a more rewarding and fulfilling life!
Let me know if you need help in connecting to your values.  As always, I am here to support you in living your best life.