Finding what’s lost or stolen increases in difficulty when you don’t know where to look. It becomes even more difficult if you’re in desperate rush to find it. You retrace your steps and look under the pile of clothes 4 times. On the fifth look, you notice that your shirt doesn’t quite sit right, indicating that something lies beneath it. Bada bing, bada boom, you’ve found what you’re looking for.
I imagine that the search to find yourself is similar. However, finding yourself goes beyond knowing where to look, you may not know what you’re looking for.
Wouldn’t be easier if the search to find yourself was more like the hot and cold game. As you searched, something is there to let you know that you’re getting warmer or colder.
“What?” you say because we’re like besties and you’re totally into this game.
“I’m getting ready to tell the thing that will let you know when you’re getting warmer or colder on your search to find yourself.”
“Wouldn’t it have made more sense just to tell me the thing instead of telling me that you’re about to tell me about it?”
“Hey, hey, hey, I’m asking the questions here.”
Values are your principles of behavior. They help you to sort what’s important from what’s not. They’re also your guidepost to find congruence in your thoughts, words, and actions. Examples of values include:
Understanding your values helps you to find yourself because they represent your fundamental beliefs. Because you decide what is important to you, values are always personal, and unique to your life and your story.
Uncovering Your Values
A good place to look for your values is in those extremely emotional times in your life. I’m talking about both the good and bad moments.
Take a moment to think about a time that you were happy. What were you doing? Who were you doing it with? What values (at least 3 values) were you displaying?
For me the answer to that question would look like this:
I was really happy when I finished a short story about a girl with a screwed up view of sex. Though I wrote the story alone, I shared it with my husband and sister. I displayed self-expression, discipline, and social consciousness.
Now write the inverse.
Take a moment to think about a time you were really sad or angry. What were you doing? Who were you doing it with? What values (at least 3 values) were you displaying?
For me the answer to that question would look like this.
I was angry with myself after I snooped through my husband’s phone. I did it alone for obvious reasons. I displayed dishonesty, distrust, and manipulation.
Wow that was hard to admit but it’s da truth. Be honest with yourself when you’re writing this stuff down.
Now you should have a small list of the values you want to keep and the values you want to change. Before we move forward turn your negative values into it opposite.
For me it would look like this:
Dishonesty ———– Honesty
Distrust ———– Trust
Manipulation ———– Authenticity
It’s important to change the negative to the positive because you want to focus more on what you want to have in your life than on what you don’t want to have. I’ll explore this topic some other time.
Think about your everyday life, are there times when you aren’t exemplifying your values. What can you do to change that? How can you add more value-based activities to your life?
Now, I want to stop for a second to make sure that you’re doing more than just reading this post. If you haven’t already, try the exercise. You may think that you’ll get to it later but later never comes. It will only take a second. Knowledge without action is useless.
What values do you have/ what values did you uncover? How do those values signify who you are?