Living According to Your Values - Part One

Image result for live to your valuesA value is something - a concept - that is important to us. Many of us value our friends, family members, etc. But we also value things like honesty, respect, professionalism, love, relaxation, and so forth. This is Part One in a series about VALUES.

Why are values important, and how do they impact the lives we lead? Simply put, we organize our priorities and activities around our values. For example, if you value working and feeling as though you are contributing to society, you will try very hard to land a job that allows you to do so. Similarly, if you value spirituality, you will make efforts to seek out experiences that bring you closer to God.

When we don't live our lives in keeping with our values, we become distressed, dissatisfied, and feel unfulfilled. This is because we realize that things we cherish or enjoy are not being projected and enhanced in our daily experiences.
Image result for live tvalues quote
This article talks about how we can use our values to focus or redirect our lives. I recommend you take a read of it!

The first step is to identify a few of your values. Make a list! I value....
-God and spirituality
-mental, emotional, and physical wellness
-friends and family
-my work and studies
-relaxation
-positive thinking
-enjoyable hobbies (reading, colouring, sports, etc)

...And so forth. Making a list like this is super helpful, as it allows us reflect on the things we like - and want - out of our lives.

In order to align our lives with our values, we need to try to seek out activities and experiences that allow us to live out these concepts. Of course, this is not always 100% possible. For example, I may value - or prefer - a job that allows me to sleep in every morning. But this may not be feasible. As well, it is important to separate preferences from values. I would LOVE to sleep in each day, but this not a value. A value could be relaxation and balance. To align this, I can try to get a job that allows me to work and help others, but also has somewhat flexible times that permits me to relax and take breaks.

Image result for live your values quoteSomething else to remember is that life does not always allow us to 100% get our way. For example, you might value mental health, but situations occur that make you feel depressed, anxious, frustrated. etc. This can cause you to feel even more distressed, as something you value is not being realized in your life. What do you do then? Remember: you cannot always control situations around you. When this happens, it is important to reflect on how you can use your values to cope with life. For example, if you value mental wellness and you feel distressed, think about how you can enhance or live your values out - despite the situation. Perhaps you can take a walk, call a friend, make your favourite food, etc. Does living out your value in this can change your situation? No - you are still dealing with a stressful time. BUT choosing actions and experiences (within your control) permits you to navigate the ups and downs life throws at you.

I encourage you to take time to reflect on what you truly value in life. Next time, we'll discuss what happens when your values are not reflected in your life - and how to handle those situations. Stay tuned for Part Two!

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