Our values are our guiding principles that govern how we live. They are often tied to morals and ethics such as how we behave and treat others. Whether we obey the law and cultural mores or not. They are also often tied to what we believe. For example, if we believe we must be truthful, then we probably hold honesty in high regard.
They comprise our integrity, which I personally think is the core of self-esteem and of our sense of purpose. They guide our decisions, our ethical reasoning and our relationships.
But they mean absolutely nothing if we lack boundaries because we cannot stand up for them. We can’t make them real. They can’t show up in our lives until we are ready to stand in our truth and stand up for what we believe. This takes courage, self-trust, and a desire to place a higher value and what we believe in… than what we were afraid of. That is why this week on the podcast, I am talking about how to live out what we say we hold dear.
They provide meaning for our life. If we value success, well then getting out of bed and making it happen gives us a reason to get out of bed. If we value justice, our career may just reflect that. Or we may make our voice loud when we witness injustice.
They are what we are passionate about. What we focus our life on, and greatly influence how we behave. Conscious or not, we are living out our values. When we get upset – and argue with someone you can bet we are arguing for what we value – respect, to be loved, to not be harmed…etc.
We can’t be true to ourselves and not be true to our values and our beliefs. We can’t go against ourselves and be truly happy. We all crave and need alignment: where our lives reflect what matters most and we feel like we make sense.
But Living Out Our Values is Hard. But we know anything worth standing for can be controversial and create conflict. Conversely that is why people-pleasing and avoidant behaviors may keep us from rocking the boat, but they will also keep us from standing in our truth. From really Owning It.
Others who disagree with what we value won’t like it – or perhaps us anymore. Those of us who have kept our values quiet probably have some manipulative people in our lives…who would want nothing more than to guilt and trick us out of standing up for what we believe. Until once again, we shelved what we truly thought was important.
It’s also hard when we have competing values – two or more things that are on par with each other, but one must be prioritized. Like not losing your job (surviving) versus staying home with a sick child (family). Taking a cut in pay (financial security) to work for a company with better ethics (integrity) and a shorter commute (quality of life and physical health). Being a grownup comes packed with value decisions all the time. If we don’t have guiding principles, such as “my family is always more important than success”, it will be tricky to make the best call we can.
So this week as you look around your life…take stock. Are you living your values? If I were to take a look at your day-to-day, would it reflect who you say you are? Sign up for the values worksheet in today’s newsletter if you already haven’t, and take a look…