Living our values means being purposeful with our everyday experiences. When we have strong values it means we’re intentional about the actions we take and decisions we make. So, how do we figure out what our values are and what they mean? Follow these steps below:
- Look at your history. Many of us grow up with certain values instilled in us from family, community, religion, and school. Our childhoods can tell us a lot about what was important to those around us and sometimes that translates to what’s important to us, too. Other times, we may diverge from what we grew up learning for a number of reasons. Either way, reflecting on our upbringings can point us towards what we value. For example: if going to religious services was an integral part of your family (value: faith), how you feel about that can help you define your own values- if this is something you, given the choice, still do then that may mean that faith is one of your values. In contrast, if this is something you no longer take part in then maybe faith is not one of your values.
- Look at your schedule. This one doesn’t require you to think back to years ago but to think about the present. Think about your week and what your days look like. The way that you spend your time indicates what some of your values may be. What do you prioritize? Do you carve out time to exercise (value: fitness)? Do you reach out to loved ones after work (value: connection)?
- Look at your experiences. What are some experiences you’ve had that brought you joy? Maybe it was ziplining (value: adventure) or a trip to see the Eiffel Tower (value: travel), or finishing a great book (value: learning). A memorable experience can help shine light on a value.
Sometimes defining values can be tricky because sometimes our values intersect. For example: if you typically wake up early in order to take a shower but a loved one calls you bright and early one morning and you decide to take the time to talk to them, this doesn’t automatically mean you value connection and don’t value your self-care. You may value both, but sometimes one takes precedence over another. Paying attention to these crossovers is key to understanding what our values are and that sometimes we make compromises to put one value over another.
Once we’ve defined our values, what’s next? Stay tuned!
Catherine at Revive