Last week, I talked about how the uniqueness of our individual values, and explained how if our core truths remain unrecognised or unrealised by others, we can feel frustrated, disappointed or angry. A conflict with your loved one can often be a result of the struggle to align your own set of values with theirs – so clearly, it’s vital that we obtain a clear picture of what’s most important to us, so we can communicate our needs with each other, and make sense of any situation where our values are clashing with another’s.
This week, I’m going to help you figure out your own values, and understand the bedrock of principles that guide you through life – so here’s an exercise for you to do. If it helps, you can do this with a lover or a friend.
Step 1: Write down 5-10 values that are most important in your life. For instance, they might include: partnership, freedom, love, trust, wealth, stability, family, nature etc. Think about how you like to spend your time, what you’re passionate about, what you fill your life with, what you think and talk about, and your goals. There’s a more comprehensive list at the end of this blog, if you need a few more ideas!
Step 2: List those values in order of priority. Then, when you’ve found your top five values, ask yourself what each means for you personally. For instance, when you drill down into the value of ‘partnership’, it might mean ‘stability’, and in turn that might mean ‘trust’. In another example, ‘career’ for you may mean ‘freedom’, or it could also mean ‘prosperity’ or ‘wealth’ or ‘security’. Keep exploring until you instinctively feel that you’ve made it to the core ‘truth’ behind a particular value. Be aware that if you’re struggling to drill down any further into a value’s meaning, it might already be a core value. By now you should have identified the 5 core values that are most important in your life.
Step 3: Take a moment to reflect on how closely you’re living your life in line with your newly discovered core values. Ask yourself “how closely, from 1-10 am I living in alignment with this value?” (with 1 being ‘not at all’ and 10 being ‘completely’). Make note of how closely your life is matching your values, and you’ll gain some insights into the areas of your life that need some extra work to bring you into alignment.
This exercise can be invaluable in giving you greater awareness in problematic areas of your life. For instance, you may disagree over your partner’s decision to go away on their own for a few days, until you realise that it’s not the relationship that’s under threat, but your own core value of trust… and that’s because (for whatever reason) the issue of trust is higher on your radar than it may be on your partner’s.
This insight into the key motivators that drive your actions and behaviours can help you to understand why you (or someone close to you) can sometimes react so strongly to something that can seem unimportant to others.
This kind of knowledge can help us to find new solutions that better support our values, while also helping us get to the root of a problem, instead of struggling to understand a different point of view. What’s even more exciting is the realisation that when we gain greater awareness of our key values, we can immediately recognise why we’re so ‘charged up’, and choose to react in a different way, diffusing any tension, misunderstandings and overreactions before they even begin.
In love and light,
Confidence Control Creativity
Dignity Discipline Ecstasy
Faith Family Fitness
Friends Freedom Fulfilment Forgiveness Fun Generosity
God Growth Happiness Health Hope Honesty Humour Independence Integrity Intelligence
Kindness Knowledge Love (romantic)
Peace of mind Pleasure
Prosperity Reason Respect
Security Self-reliance Sensitivity
Spirituality Strength Success Trust