Values are the ideas and qualities that we feel most connected to, that feel most relevant to us in the life we lead. Values are the characteristics that we most respect in ourselves, in others, and in organisations that really bring to life those values. They are often the things we base our important decisions on without even knowing.
However most of us make decisions based upon the values we have ended up with rather than the values we truly, deeply, hold to be important. This happens naturally as we grow older. We start to pick up the values that surround us – from our parents, opinion formers, colleagues, our seniors. We start to be influenced by advertising and politics. We also start to reject some values that we used to really believe in because we start to feel they don’t work ‘in the real world’ – that we risk being hurt, unappreciated or rejected if we carry on living those values. So we hide them, ignore them or change them. But deep, deep down, in our inner mind, they don’t go away.
In most cases, any time we do something that conflicts with our deep inner values we are likely to feel out of sorts, somehow uncomfortable or unhappy – and we probably won’t know why. And such value conflicts usually lead to some form of self-sabotage.
When we really spend time identifying our true values they become a source of energy for us, and set a direction for us to walk down. We can make decisions based on what really works for us. We can prioritise people and things that are going to make us deeply happy for the long term – rather than short term fixes based on any false values that really aren’t the ones we deeply feel. The more we live in accordance with our deepest, truest values (often those we developed as a younger child before we became cynical or started to try and make others happy) the happier and more at peace we feel. This is true for all people, at all times and without fail.
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