Values are your fundamental beliefs or the ‘filter’ you have in your mind, which helps you measure your success and satisfaction in life. When the things you do, the words you say and the thoughts you have are all aligned with the beliefs you hold, you feel satisfied and content and believe that your values are being met. On the contrary, when what you say, you do and how you do it do not align, they do not match your belief system, you feel unhappy, displeased and conclude that your values are not being met and therefore your life is not turning out the way you want it to.
“Values are a crucial part of your overall personality that dictate how you act, what you do and why you do it.”
Values are a fundamental part of your mental make-up and exist whether you realise it or not. They in fact, not only merely exist, but also define the way you feel and act. You hold values that outline your behaviour at home, work, in society and so on, but all of these are surrounding your personal values. Your core personal values are the ones that formulate your lens in life. The question is how you can identify the values you hold so dear and the ones that direct your life. Below are 5 ways to identify the same. Grab a pen and paper and list your responses to the prompts below
- List the things that make you happy – think deeply about what exactly makes you happy. Remember the people you are with, the things that you are doing, the place you are in and so on. Visualise the exact scenario of when you were the happiest and everything that was surrounding you when you were happy in terms of people, place, things and events / situations.
- List every memory that fills you with Pride – what is the thing that makes you feel the proudest about yourself and / or even about others, perhaps your family or close ones. When was it that you felt you made it, you achieved it or did something significant that changed or improved your life.
- Write the times you felt the most fulfilled – when do you feel the most satisfied? What gives you a sense of peace and achievement? List any specific events that occurred in life that made you feel that way. Was it something you did or someone did for you that made you feel relaxed and situated?
- Reminisce the situations that made you feel that way – recollect all the times that made you feel happy, proud and fulfilled. Was there a commonality in them? Did they all occur at the same time or at different times? Write about the things you were doing or the things that happened to you during those times.
- Imagine your life without them – what are the things you listed above that you cannot imagine your life without. Think why each and every experience, emotion, feeling listed above is truly important and memorable for you. What needs to happen to culminate more of the same outcome in your life? What do you need to do more of to have those pleasant experiences in life? Would you do them even if they weren’t popular or deemed important by others?
When you have identified all the things above, you will be able to determine the common thread of values that define the way you feel, experience and express yourself in life. Once you have listed your values, the next step is to prioritise your top values by taking a deeper look into the ones that are more core than the others. Go within and ask yourself, if you could satisfy any of the first two on your list, which one would that be and why. Score all your values based on their importance over each other and compared to each other to classify and distinguish the important ones from the not so important ones. Make your way through the entire list and come up with the top 5 values that are the most fundamental to you.
For example, everything you do should be governed by your top 5 values of making a difference, positivity, empathy, inner harmony and happiness.
Understanding your values is a very important exercise as that will help you make the right decisions in life. The decisions that will make you happy and feel satisfied. These values are a central part of your existence and will guide you to make the right choice always. Let your values be your guiding light in life with full awareness and responsibility.