Living According to Your Values - Part Two

Image result for life align values Last time, we talked about why and how our values influence our decisions and choices. We know that our values - what is really important to us - shape our priorities. This helps us make decisions for ourselves.

But sometimes, we are unable to live according to our values fully. This can happen for many reasons: life may not give us many choices, we might feel unwell or stressed, we have conflicting thoughts and emotions, etc.

For example, let's say you value spending time with friends and family. But life is really busy with constant work duties, long hours, and things to do. You begin feeling stressed, you are not relaxing or sleeping enough, and you feel 'down'. Because you have so much to do - and the fact that you feel kind of 'down in the dumps', makes you either go to work, or come home and 'crash'. As a result, you have not spent much time with your loved ones, nor have you relaxed in a while.

Of course, this makes you feel frustrated and even more stressed. You are unable to do other things that are meaningful to you. Your values of family-time and relaxation are being bypassed. This is a terrible feeling! Being unable to live out these values produces anger, resentment, and sadness.

Now, how do we change this? How do we help make your life more aligned with your values? Of course, you might not be able to take time away from work to be with your family. You cannot simply 'not work' because you don't feel like it. But that is not what I am implying.

Image result for life align valuesTo truly align your life with your values, you need to be creative. You might not be able to skip work, but can you, for example, take 2 hours one night a week to be with your loved ones? Can you get extra work done in the office so that you need not bring it home? Perhaps you can schedule a weekend to relax, away from work? Or maybe you can talk to your boss and ask for an extension?

We know that life doesn't always work our way. And that is what makes it challenging. To live according to your values requires us to focus on what is meaningful, edifying, and satisfying to us. It means understanding that we don't always 'get our way' in life, but regardless, we can do our best to prioritize our values.

It is helpful, in difficult moments, to consider your values, why they are important to you (ex. why is XXX valuable? What does it do for you in life? For your mood, health, etc?), and what you can do to make them an active part of your experiences. The more you practice this, the more you will notice yourself becoming more resilient, happy, patient, and calm.
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