Get your values straight and everything else will fall into line
According to the Oxford dictionary, values are ‘Principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life’.
Everyone’s values are different – some people place more importance on career progression or academic success, others care more about being present for family, or giving to other people, whilst some people just want to be humble and honest. There is no right or wrong order of ‘what’s really important in life’. It takes a multitude of different people to make the world go round after all. What is important though, is knowing which ones matter to you.
Our intrinsic core values affect our behaviour every single day – even when we don’t realise it. For example, when you wake up in the morning and really don’t want to go to work but push through and go anyway, that might be because you value hard work, or being reliable and dependable.
Our values give us that sense of ‘it’s the right thing to do, even if I don’t really feel like it’ feeling. When something happens that’s not aligned with our values, we don’t feel happy or comfortable within ourselves, so we deliberately change our behaviour so we don’t have to feel like that anymore.
Knowing what our values are make it clear what is important to us – which is what gives us a purpose and direction in life. Having a clear idea on what our values are also makes making decisions easier, especially if they’re difficult.
So what are your core values? If you’re not sure, have a think about:
- Past situations which made you feel some type of strong emotion. These can be happy, sad, angry, proud or hurt.
- What values aren’t as important to you – it can be just as helpful as working out which ones are.
Values tend to stay pretty stable over time, but it’s worthwhile to revisit what these are to you, and give yourself a reminder of what’s intrinsically important to you, especially when faced with making tough decisions. Doing the ‘right thing’ by our values isn’t always easy or straightforward. It requires a bit of thought and honesty on our behalf. Make choices that support your values, even if it doesn’t feel and sound so good right now, you’ll be better off in the long-term.
If you feel like things are getting on top of you or would like some additional support or advice, then Mindstar might be able to help.