The Oxford dictionary’s definition of value is The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. While I provide a list of values in this article, only you can decide what is important in your life; what you find useful and deserving.
Although intellectually I know it is important and I may say I value exercise and fitness, it is of low value to me. Why? Because if I can do anything creative I will defer working out, even taking a walk. When we are in alignment with our values and strengths we feel alive, worthy, and flourishing. That does not mean we neglect our lower values if they are important to our general well-being. But awareness can help us manage the big picture. I know it is in my best interest to exercise so repeatedly I try moving it up higher in my list of values.
Align with Your VALUES
Often times we face value conflicts. One value may compete with another. Then staying in alignment with your values will require some creative solutions and negotiation. Here is an example of a value conflict. You value animals and love having pets in your home while your partner or child is allergic to them. If you get creative, you might decide to volunteer at the Humane Society. Here is another example. If your partner prefers more time at home and you enjoy a more active social life, go out with friends. If you love cooking and your partner does not, negotiate with your partner to do the clean up.
Dr. John Demartini, author of The Values Factor: The Secret to Creating an Inspired and Fulfilling Life encourages his followers to avoid deferring or subordinating to others’ values. Doing so sucks the energy out of you. Indeed, when you abdicate your values to some else’s, you risk feeling confused, angry or depressed. You also end up having a sense of living out-of-integrity.
At work, if your highest values and strengths are not utilized, look for opportunities and offer to take on a side project or fill that need at home or in a volunteer role. Sometimes you will need to declare your boundaries to stay in integrity and aligned with your values.
Identify Your VALUES
Here is a little exercise to assist you in identifying your highest values:
Circle your five most important values; where you spend the most:
- Time seeking
- Time in related activities
- Time developing skills in
- Energy or focus
A List of VALUES
acceptance * achievement * adventure * acknowledgement * animals * appreciation * art * balance * beauty * belonging * caring * challenge * change * children * comfort * compassion * competition * commitment * communication * control * cooperation * creativity * courage * dignity * discipline * diversity * education * emotional maturity * equality * enthusiasm * ethics * excellence * fame * faith * family * feelings * financial security * fitness * freedom * friendship * fun * generosity *gentleness * harmony * health * helping others * home * human rights * humor * humility * idealism * influence * integrity * intuition * joy * justice * kindness* law and order * listening * logic *loyalty * love * manners * modesty * money * music * mystery * native culture * native traditions * nature * nurturing * orderliness * passion * patience * peace * personal development * play * pleasure * power * prayer * prestige * privacy * recognition * reliability * resilience * respect * responsibility * reverence * risk taking * sacredness * seniors * sensitivity * sensuality * sex * sharing * silence * spirituality * sports * solitude * success * synergy * teamwork * tenderness * thinking * tolerance * touch * travel * truth * trustworthiness * unity * vision * winning * wisdom * Other: _________
- Now, prioritize your five values from the first to fifth!
- Next! Deepen those priority values by acting on them with meaningful activities.
Put Your Values into Action
- My hubby is an outdoor guy, and values nature and adventure. A high for him is wilderness camping, facing fast rapids in his canoe and sleeping under the stars. I value comfort, relationships, and stimulating conversations. My high is attending conferences, conventions, and other social gatherings. So how do we honour our own and each other’s values? We support his holidays; he goes on his own or with guy friends out into the wild. We support her holidays; I attend many social gatherings on my own. We support our holidays. We go on road trips in Les’ camper van, travel to other countries and, take annual trips to our daughter’s home in Amsterdam.
- A number of years ago, while I was the president of an organization, I was pressured to dismiss a board member who struggled to fulfill her duties. I recall saying, “I understand you value excellence. I more value compassion and will find another way to solve the problem.”
- A man knocked on the door of our home. When I opened the door, I faced someone who knew my husband but I did not know. He had a swagger about him and said, “Hey! Little woman, is the boss at home?” My values came in handy. “I value being spoken to with respect. My husband and I have a mutual relationship and he is not my boss.”
- My speaking business was doing well. I was on track to fulfill the requirements for Certified Speaking Professional. The requirements include annually speaking a certain number of times and earning a certain amount of money. Then, because she needed extra support, we moved our single-parent, daughter and her three children from Ontario to here in Alberta. I immersed myself in supporting and advocating. We discovered she lives with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and two of her three children also have disabilities. Our journey is well described in my book, Love Her As She Is: Lessons from a Daughter Stolen by Addictions. The point is that I value family and helping others more than I value achievement and money.
My hope is that these examples give you a sense of the power of identifying your values and how they can help guide you in making important decisions. Developing a list of values and prioritizing them will not only help you protect your integrity, but will enhance your work, relationships, and life.
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Patricia Morgan MA CCC helps her readers, clients, and audiences lighten their load, brighten their outlook, and strengthen their resilience. To go from woe to WOW call 403.242.7796 or email a request.
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