Our core values and the extent to which we live them, help to shape our destiny. Do you know what is most important to you? What is precious to you? What do you really care about? What would you die in a ditch for?
Think back to times when you felt most alive, most helpful and most giving. Recall times when you felt most connected to your higher instincts; to the needs of others and to the soul of life. What was important for you then? Perhaps times in the past might provide clues about your important values?
In difficult times, it really helps to be clear about our most important values. Whether we are facing a crisis, coming to a crossroads in our life or have important decisions to make, the clearer we are about what is most important to us, the better. Important decisions are challenging, but the clearer we are about our values and guiding principles the greater chance we have of making good choices.
What is most precious to you? Find a quiet place and sit down with a blank sheet of A4 paper, a pen, and a cup of tea or coffee. At the top of the page write: “ALL THE THINGS I VALUE”. Set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes and then just “brainstorm” on anything you value in life. Keep writing until the timer bleeps. At this stage don’t try to vet anything, just get down on paper as many things as you can. It might include: health, family, friends, spouse, partner, children, parents, lifestyle, career, work, play, wealth, material possessions etc. It could include status, power, success, achievements, security, belonging and recognition. Also, it could be inner values such as love, faith, hope, peace, stillness, wisdom, integrity etc. When the timer goes, read over your list and circle those values that could be contenders for your most important. Then, review those values you have circled and narrow the list to about 6.
Our core values reveal what is most important to us and how we define ourselves. They represent our heart’s deepest desires and longings. They are the basis for the way we ideally want to interact with and relate to ourselves, other people and the world around us. They guide and motivate us through life and when we fail to live up to our important values it manifests in the form of guilt, depression, illness or anger. Having clarity around what is most important to us really helps when it comes to decision making. Life often comes down to the choices we make. Once we are clear on what we stand for and what we won’t accept, it becomes easier to make tough decisions because, we are more likely to choose the path that is in line with our values. Clarify your important values, and your life will feel calmer. Then when challenges come along you will have a strong sense of what is right for you and can act appropriately. In living our best possible life, clear values are the firm foundations upon which to build.
BEYOND PERCEPTION’S REACH is a collection of brief thoughts and reflections on the complexities and challenges of life’s mysteries. The weekly blog will explore some of the questions and personal challenges we face in our uncertain and confusing world. How do we bring a bit more joy, purpose and fulfillment to our “one wild and precious lives”?