Most of my life was spent in the shadow of someone else. I followed others and became what I thought I should be instead of who I really was. I hid my true self in shame because I thought who I, as I was, was wrong. How could that be?
It turns out that the only way to live a “wrong life” is by not being true to who you are: by not adhering to your own personal values. We are wrong, or not ourselves when we stop listening to our hearts and simply follow the masses. When our lives becomes more of what others say it should be and less of who we truly are then we’re lost.
Have you experienced this in life before?
Have you remained silent when you really wanted to speak?
Have you changed your clothes to look more like the others?
Have you followed along with choices that were not yours because you didn’t want to offend someone else?
Are you living a life that is true to who you are?
Our values steer us through life. When we feel unhappy, unbalanced or even unfulfilled it is because something is missing and that is a critical sign that our lives are not aligned with our values. However when we act from a place of love, live fulfilled lives and are happy we are aligned with our values. As unique individuals we should strive to live lives that are guided by our own specific values.
What are values?
We all have them. Some of them have been instilled in us since childhood while others have been defined on our own. Values are beliefs, philosophies or qualities that are meaningful to an individual, and we continuously shape our lives around them. Our values guide our decisions throughout life. They inspire and motivate us. They also prompt us to question what we are doing. It is when we feel lost and confused that we are often misaligned.
So step back for a moment and ask yourself do your thoughts and actions match your values? Are you being true to who you are as an individual?
How to Uncover and Claim Your Values
Let’s start with an exercise. Grab a pen and a paper and reflect back to a moment when you were at your happiest? A time where you felt totally at peace with yourself, free from judgment and fulfilled. As you recall this memory jot down some notes about that time period.
For me personally, one of my fondest memories was when I threw caution to the wind and decided to move across country. When I reflect back to that time period I remember feeling free, confident and in flow with life. I remember that I trusted myself wholeheartedly, my thoughts and my actions. I was living a life that was guided by my own values and not those of someone else.
My own personal reflection provided me with a deeper insight with which I found that I am happiest when I’m open, living life to the fullest and courageous.
How did your memory make you feel? Begin to pull pieces from that happy moment and piece together what makes you happiest. Feel free to practice this a few times while you continue to identify your core values.
Here’s Another Exercise as Well…
Click right here and you will be directed to a link that will detail multiple values. Identify your values from the list below. Read through the examples and circle 10 or more words to which you’re drawn or add your own. Select those that are most important to you as guides for how you act or as components of the values-oriented life. Feel free to add any value of your own to this list. Then use the free exercise below to whittle your list down to 3 to 5 core values. Experiencing, creating and being categorize these values.
This list is a great start to identifying your core values.
Remember…. If you don’t take the time to identify your values how will you ever know if you’re adhering to them? Think of them as building blocks and with every new block your closer to living your best life.
Live a life that is true to you and not one that is guided by others.