“Living in alignment with your values, what exactly is that anyway? I don’t really know what my values are, let alone feel aligned with them”, these are probably a few of the things you may be thinking right now. That said, we all know the feeling of being misaligned with our values. That feeling of sinking in quicksand or feeling stuck, when you are trekking through mud, or pushing against the tide, in short it’s a struggle.
When you are misaligned with your core values you’re constantly fighting up against something. However, when you begin to move into alignment with your values or your guiding principles, you can experience ease and authenticity, leading to a more fulfilled life.
Below we’ll discuss the importance of your unique values & discuss how you can connect to and live by your values in any situation.
Getting Clear On Your Values
So what does living by your values look like & how do you know what your values are? To identify your values, it’s sometimes helpful to first look at what feels contrary to them. As we mentioned, living contrary to your values can feel challenging, testing or frustrating. By contrast, when we live our values we feel a sense of ease, flow and harmony.
For this purpose, we’ll look at our values as singular words or concepts that we relate to or feel are part of our true nature. Some examples of values include:
On her podcast “Unlocking Us: Brene & Barrett on Living Into Our Values”, Brene Brown discusses how to identify your core values and how to live by them. Brown proposes that in order to identify your core values, you can ask yourself a few questions like: ‘What are the one or two values that everything else is built upon?” Or “Without these values there is nothing?”
Once you identify a few core values, it’s important to understand the value in your values, in other words, why living by your values is so important.
The Need to Live By Your Values
The reason you need to live by your values is actually pretty simple. By living your truth, you allow yourself to live as the best version of you, attracting the life you’ve always dreamed of having and showing both yourself and others what it’s like to live a full life. This feeling of ease or authenticity impacts all aspects of life, including how you feel, how you live in relationships with others, how you show up as a parent, how you excel at work and even how you spend your money or vote in an election.
How to Live Life in Alignment with Your Values
So, how exactly do you go about ensuring you are able to live your values or identify when you are not operating in alignment with your values? Here are some questions you can ask:
What do these values look like in practice? What behaviours do you do that uphold these values?
If one of your values is justice, what does that look like in practice? Does it mean that you believe all people are created equal and should be treated the same? When you’re asked to discipline someone at work are you listening to all sides of the story with detachment in order to determine the best course of action?
How do you feel when you’re living your values?
If you value creativity do you feel like ideas come to you from everywhere with ease? Do you feel like you can solve any problem that comes your way? Do you feel like a kid again when playing hide and seek with your children?
Who are some of the people who mirror your values back to you? Who holds you accountable and can recognize when you are operating outside your values?
Check in with your friends or family. Are they seeing you struggling or in flow? Do they tell you this? Who are some people that you see as the epitome of your values? What attracts you to them?
How can you be compassionate to yourself during this journey?
Are you able to identify the times when you’re misaligned? How can you tell? How can you discover a path back to your core values and how will you practice self-compassion while you do so?
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