Values-Based Living (VBL) Part Two: Why are your Values Important to You?

Image result for values quotesIn part one of this series, we started by identifying our values - the things in life that are most important to us. In this post, we will dive deeper into exactly WHY we value the things we do.

This might seem obvious. For example, I value health because it helps me live my life and accomplish my goals. Stop for a second and reread that sentence - health allows me to achieve my dreams. Just writing this out helped me realize that whenever things get crazy in life (as they often do), I need to keep health a priority. Because if I am not healthy, I cannot do anything in life. Therefore, because I value health, it would make sense that my actions, thoughts, and behaviours should be in keeping with those that promote health. This includes adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, social time, spiritual connection, humour, hobbies, etc.

Do you see what I mean? By reflecting on WHY our values are important to us - or why they are values in the first place (!), we can begin to consider how we can live a life that is in line with our values.

Image result for live to your valuesLet's try another example. One of your values may be family - spending time with those that you love. We all know that family time is essential for our well-being, but what do you do when work gets stressful, you have too many deadlines, life is hectic, etc? How do you balance this with spending time with family?

This is where outlining WHY this value is important to you can help. You may value your family because they understand you when no one else does. They support you. They encourage you to be the best you can be, and they respect you during your friendly and not-so-friendly moments. They are always there for me, even when life gets busy. Knowing this, you can take a step today that helps you get in touch with family. Perhaps you are too busy to spend an entire day with them. Can you call your parents to check on them? Can you stop by your siblings' home to say hello? Can you send a simple text message to say 'i love you' or 'thank you'?

Practicing this exercise allows us to not only realize why we value the things we do, but to also see that values are rarely - if ever - 'black or white'. What this means is that if you value something, there is not necessarily ONE WAY to fulfill this value in your life. If it is something that is important to you, you CAN and WILL find a way to allow this value to be encompassing in your life.

Image result for core values quoteOne of the nicest feelings is when we live according to our values. Even when life gets frustrating and tiring, acting and incorporating our values into our days makes things easier. If you value faith, simply lifting your heart to God can turn a depressing day into one that is slightly easier to handle. If you value solitude, treating yourself to a nice meal or warm bath can make all the difference. If you value honesty, apologizing and owning up to a mistake you made can be freeing.

I encouarge you to do this activity: after idenitfying your values, find out your 'whys'. WHY do you value what you do? Why is this important to you? In what ways can you act, think, feel, speak, behave, etc. in order to live according to these values?

When you know your 'whys', you cannot be shaken. You can stand firm, knowing that regardless of how difficult life gets, you owe it to yourself to live in accordance to what you cherish and value. 

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