Values are the things that are important to us; spirituality, honesty, compassion, equality, empathy, fun, trust, faith, love. Our values are closely linked to our belief of what is right and what is wrong. Understanding what we value supports us to make decisions, set and achieve goals and live a truly content and meaningful life. Understanding what is important to us is also useful when we are trying to articulate and express ourselves. Ideally, everything we do should align with our values but at times, we can lose sight of what is important to us and become disconnected from our true selves.
The most challenging times to connect with our values can be when we are managing difficult or anxious thoughts that guide us to do/not do certain things, in order to avoid or distract us from feelings of anxiety. Alternatively, we can be guilty of making decisions based on what other people want us to do, for fear of disapproval or judgement. There are a number of pressures we face; internal battles, the advice or beliefs of people we care about, expectations of wider society. Often we can spend a lot of time making decisions without connecting to our own values, our true selves and this can result in people feeling lost, feeling unsatisfied or living a life that actually isn’t what they want.
Your values are the guidelines by which you should live your life. Not everyone you are around will share your values and you may feel forced to take actions which you don’t feel comfortable with. You may find that your values are conflicted at work, or in your relationships with friends or people you care about. Perhaps they don’t value the same things as you do, so you either present as though certain things are important to you (when they’re not) or you may supress particular values, for fear of how those around you may respond or perceive you.
Allowing yourself space to explore your values is useful, and healthy for your well-being and personal development. You may find that over time, through your experiences and exploration, your values change, adapt and evolve. Some you may hold onto more tightly than others, some you may have to compromise slightly for those around you. It is important to remain connected to what you truly care about, otherwise you may find that you are making decisions without really thinking about what they mean to you.
Have you become disconnected from your values and your true self or have you been making decisions based on what your anxious thoughts tell you, or what people around you expect of you? Perhaps you’ve just never really invested time thinking about what is important to you? Spend some time identifying the things which you value, the things that you truly care about and that are important to you and then you can work on ensuring that your relationships, career, decisions and goals align with the person that you want to be.