Life is a proverbial roller coaster ride filled with ups and downs, and some wild–even scary turns. Like any good roller coaster, it can affect our equilibrium and leave us feeling a bit out of sorts. But when life gets off kilter, one great way to get back on track is by returning to the people and things we value most.
Who and what do you value? Have you thought about this question lately?
Values are the things that we deem important to the way we want to live, work, and connect with others. For example, you may say you value family, and so family becomes a priority to you—an area where you want to invest your time and energies. But what if your job required you to spend 70+ hours at work on a regular basis, or you found yourself choosing to work such long hours; what affect do you think this would have? It wouldn’t be long before you began to feeling conflicted, stressed, disillusioned, and out of sorts. Why? Because, you’re working against your own core value—family.
When we’re true to what we say we value, life has a certain flow to it—a peace and harmony that seems to surround us. But this flow can be disrupted or blocked by life situations, circumstances, people, and things—everything from negative attitudes, to the loss of a job, an overbearing in-law, to drugs or alcohol dependency. One sure way we can get around these blocks is by remembering our core values, and living a lifestyle that is in alignment with them.
Values help define our lives, and that’s why it’s so critical that we define our values.
Here are three easy steps you can take to help you clarify yours:
- First, think about the times when you were happiest. Who were you with? What were you doing? Where were you?
- Then, try to recall the times in your life you felt most proud. Why were you proud? What did you do to contribute to your own feelings of pride? Were others proud of you?
- And finally, identify the times in your life you were most fulfilled and satisfied. Why did that particular experience make you feel so fulfilled? What need was it filling in your life?
Based on your own history of happiness, pride, and fulfillment, you can begin to determine what it is you really, truly value. If it’s creativity, think about a creative outlet like drawing, painting, or playing an instrument to truly be at your best. If you’ve felt most fulfilled while helping others, then find a volunteer opportunity in your area, and enjoy the positive energy you create in your own life. If living in a city is leaving you stressed and craving nature, maybe it’s your values telling you it’s time for a move to the suburbs or country. Your commute may be a bit longer, but you’ll be much more at home and at peace in your new surroundings.
Values are valuable. They are to us what a rudder is to a ship—the steering mechanism that takes us in the direction we’re truly meant to go. Set your values, stay the course, and enjoy your life to the fullest.