Think about your values, write them down and then apply them to your decisions and see what happens.
Updated: May 19, 2019
Whether we're conscious of it or not, we all live our lives through our own lens. We have our own perspectives, own perceptions, our own feelings and a myriad of thoughts linked to these feelings; all driven by our core values in life.
Recently, I have been wondering why certain situations, people or environments can make me feel uncomfortable. Sometimes really uncomfortable. Not just uncomfortable as a one off, but uncomfortable for the long term. If I am regularly exposed to certain stimuli. It can be like something is eating away at me.
I decided to dig a little deeper into this; to try and understand what was happening. After reading various things and also talking to various people to get their views, I have arrived at a simple conclusion: that it is all about values. Core values. The things that I value and the things I, perhaps unconsciously, want others to value also. I say 'simple' because now I know it, it does seem so simple. However it has taken me many, many years to discover it. At least 25 years, if not more. Many years of sometimes giving my time to people and situations that compromised by values.
This compromise of our own values can have many impacts; e.g. make us feel angry, sad, distressed, potentially even depressed; because something feels wrong at the very core of our being.
Once I started to understand this, I did some work on writing down my own values (my top 5). I also wrote down my beliefs (not spiritual beliefs just life beliefs; the things I believe to be true). This was a great moment. A great moment because it helped explain a lot to me. About me. About why I sometimes feel and react the way I do. It is something talked about in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), in the area of understanding your identity and purpose in life. It talks about this as being a very important part of being able to centre ourselves.
Take 'humility' as a value (it is one of mine). This is the value that keeps me grounded, always. Always respectful of others' needs. Always aware of, and comfortable with, my own flaws (there are many). Able to openly talk about them. Better able to collaborate with others through an awareness of my strengths but also weaknesses.
Linked to this is 'curiosity'; a desire to keep listening to, and learning from, others. A desire to constantly expand my base of knowledge. If, for no other reason, than to expand my world view. To keep me current.
‘Integrity' is another one; to me, this is just being me, to act as people find me, to be trustworthy and dependable.
Back to the main point of this post. I believe that if we are in a situation that is compromising or invalidating our values; then it probably means we will feel like we're being compromised or invalidated ourselves - as people. In many cases it can trigger a threat response; in some cases unconsciously, and we probably don't understand why.
Some of your values and beliefs can evolve over time, with more knowledge and experience, but the very core ones are likely to be a bedrock for life; your life's driving force. The rationale behind all of your life choices and decisions. How you have become the person you are right now.
When these values are being supported by those around you, then you are more likely to feel good. Very good. You will almost certainly feel like you have momentum. Whereas when your values are being compromised, you probably feel like you're pushing water up hill... with a rake. It can be exhausting.
Think about this.
Then, write your own values down; search online if you need some inspiration for them. There are loads of examples.
It just might help you get in touch with who you really are; and this in turn can help you understand what you will and, importantly, what you won't tolerate. It has helped me. Helped me immensely.