Do you find ever find yourself wondering how exactly you came to be in a certain place or situation in life? Are you ever torn on a difficult decision, not sure which way to turn? Do you have a deep feeling of dissatisfaction with your life or a certain part of it?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re not alone. Many people, myself included, have faced the same struggles. It can be frustrating and disconcerting to feel like you don’t have direction or even like you’ve been moving in the wrong direction.
The good news is, there’s a way to provide yourself the self-guidance you’re looking for – by understanding and living your values.
What does that mean exactly? Our values are the concepts in our lives that are most important to us. When we find ourselves dissatisfied with life, it’s often because we’re out of balance with one of our values. Maybe family is of utmost importance but your work is keeping you from spending quality time with loved ones. Maybe you value financial stability but you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
You get the picture.
Just like living outside our values can create disharmony, living within them can create an incredible feeling of contentment and joy – hence why that’s my happy thought for today!
So what do you do if you’re not living your values?
The first step is generally to understand what your values are to begin with. Below are some examples of common values:
- Being the Best
- Financial Stability
- Job Security
- Personal Fulfillment
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it can give you some inspiration. Your values can change over time so the key is to identify what jumps out for you now and then narrow the list down to the 4-5 most important ones.
Keep in mind, just because you choose one value over another doesn’t mean you don’t care about the other concepts. It just means you’re prioritizing what’s most important.
My recommended second step is to put your final values up against the Why Test. That means clarifying what the value means to you and why it’s important. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what you think should be the right answer but try to really listen to what your gut tells you.
Once you have your fully defined list, start to test it against various aspects of your life. Where are you fully embracing your values and where do you have opportunities to connect with them more? What do you notice about your satisfaction levels with areas where you are and aren’t living in them?
From there, it’s a matter of starting to make tweaks here and there to get and stay in alignment. Every time an important decision comes up, pull your values out and ask yourself how the decision does or doesn’t support your values. I think you’ll find it an interesting and helpful ongoing exercise.
And if you’re still stuck, which is perfectly reasonable, shoot me an email at email@example.com or comment below. I’d love to help!
For me, I’ve been focusing a lot in the last 6 months on aligning more with my values and I’m happy to say I’m seeing positive results.
There’s something to be said for giving yourself permission to live life on your terms.
So, what’s your happy thought for today?