Do you know your values? I’m talking the core ones that matter most to you. The ones that are a must for you to have an amazing day, do you know them?
Knowing your values is important. If you have different values than your friends or spouse that can affect your relationship. But knowing them, even if they’re different, can help with understanding each other better. Finding a career that honors your top values brings greater job satisfaction. Your values affect the way you live and the choices you make. If one of your core values is being honored or dishonored, you will know it.
For example, one of my core values is frugality. I love a good deal. I’m not a big spender and I prefer to be a resourceful DIY-er over paying a handyman. Why is this value important for me to know? Because it explains why family vacations feel stressful. We spend too much money, too fast. Even if we’re being conservative, we still go through a lot of cash in a week’s time. Grappling with that reality is hard on me even though I love spending quality time with my family. It’s obvious I value frugality more than my family because I’m the only one who says we need to find a new restaurant if it’s too pricy.
Another one of my values is aesthetics, (a deep appreciation for beauty in nature, the arts, and in people). One way I honor that value is through taking photos of nature. Sunsets. Trees. Whatever captures my attention. I also love creating beautiful spaces and I love music playing in my home. When my daughter goes to high school dances, I enjoy helping her and her friends with their hair and make up. What makes me grumpy, on the other hand? When my home is a mess, like when we remodeled it two years ago. I hated that season because my eyes had nowhere to rest. All beauty bets were off and I wasn’t happy.
In a perfect world, I would always find beautiful things and services at rock bottom prices. One can dream, right? But the reality is I often times I have to pick one value over the other. Which one wins, frugality or beauty? Do I risk it and go to the cheapest hair dresser to save a few bucks? Or do I pay big bucks and feel that’s extravagant? Nope, a couple times a year I pay for cut and color. The rest of the time I cut it myself to save money. Win, win.
Here are a couple questions to help you discover your values.
1. What drives you crazy and makes you mad? Most often hidden within your frustration is a value being dishonored. Write down your pet peeves or maddening scenes, and then examine them for what is really going on. For example, I’m bugged by fake people because I place a high value on “authenticity.” Some people hate eating fast food because they value “health and wellness.”
2. What makes you feel most alive? What are some of your most favorite moments? Are you alone or with people? Where are you? What are you doing? Within these experiences are values being honored. Write down your memories and see what you discover. Maybe you love laughter, order, accomplishment, competition, faith, fitness, hospitality, compassion, or creativity. And that’s just the beginning of possible values.
There are several “life values lists” available online if you prefer to pick from a list. Some lists are long and can be overwhelming, so be forewarned. But don’t let that stop you. I use those lists as a general guide and go from there. Discovering your values is so worth it because operating within your values brings a greater level of joy to your everyday life, and who doesn’t want more joy? Anyone?