Values: How Do We Find Them, How Do We Use Them, What Good Do They Do?

Good evening! Or good morning, or afternoon, or whenever you're reading this! I hope you've had a good week thus far, and have some exciting plans to celebrate the upcoming holiday!

I really should be packing, as we are leaving tomorrow to go back home to WV for the rest of the week, but I feel like writing a blog post is more my vibe currently 🙆 Yes, I will regret that decision tomorrow...

Anyway, today I wanted to write about values. I was talking to a friend earlier, and we were discussing how we connect so well because we have the same morals and values. This conversation inspired me to write, as my values have been such a huge part in learning who I am and living accordingly. Teaching values to my clients is also one of my favorite (and in my opinion), most important subjects that I teach.

So, what are our values? says they are: a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life. 

I personally would define values as the ideas that a person believes in, what they find is important to their own personal growth and wellness. Your values have a lot to do with what you were taught when you were younger, and what you grow to appreciate and emulate as an adult. 

Typically, if you grow up in a home where you are told to work hard for the things you want, being a hard worker is a value that you have as an adult. Sometimes our values can be shaped by our experiences. For example, I told a REALLY big lie once when I was a kid, one that had some serious repercussions, and once I got out of that situation and told the truth, being rigorously honest was something I vowed to do from then on out. Honesty became a value of mine. 

A lot of times in life, people can lose sight of their values. Maybe practicing religion was a value of yours, and you experienced trauma and as a result lost your faith in your religion. Maybe you've fallen prey to the disease of addiction, and can't even remember what your values used to be, nonetheless what they are now. Maybe you just never had values instilled in you, or maybe you aren't exactly sure what they are? 

I have two basic, easy exercises I like to do with my clients to help them on their journey to discovering what their values are. 

The first exercise is simply asking them, who are the most important people in your life, and what would you want them to say about you when asked? Would you want them to say you were kind? That you volunteered for charities, and took in animals, and were always positive? If so, those are things you must value. 

The second is having the client to pretend that they are writing a letter to someone they love five years from now, filling this person in on where they are, what they're doing, what their life is like. Are they traveling all over the world? Do they own their own hair salon? Do they have any kids, are they married, are they happy? If so, these are things you value. 

encourage you right now to get out your journal or a piece of paper and complete these exercises. Even if you think you know your values, you might be surprised at the ones you've left behind. 

Okay, so you've started on the path to figuring out what your values how do you apply them to your life, and for what reason? 

Like I said earlier, our values are the very core of who we are, and what we believe in. What this means is, they are in charge of our thoughts, and therefore, our actions. So if we don't have a solid grasp on our values, we may find ourselves at times confused, lost, uncertain what to do. We may rely on others' values to make our life choices for us. This is where co-dependency comes in, and unhealthy relationships are born. 

If we a live a life without any values at all, we find that we become shells of people. Living life on autopilot, not even aware of the ways in which we are affecting others with our lack of knowledge. 

If you notice there are frequent times in your life where you feel completely unsure and lost, or maybe that you often make bad choices, these are typically signs that your values aren't dictating your life. If your values aren't making your life decisions for you, that typically means your emotions are, and that is never good as emotions can drive us to behaviors we aren't proud of, and aren't in control of completely. 

Alright, so we know what some of our values are, now how do we use them? In order to live a valued life, especially if you aren't already, you must begin acting as if. We can use some of my own values for example.

So a few of my biggest values are honesty, loyalty, and independence. Knowing that these are my values, I keep them in mind at all times, using them as a guide through life and through my life experiences. Because I value being an honest person, when I am trying to make a decision or am just living my life day-to-day, I will always ask myself, "what would an honest person do in this circumstance? What would an honest person say?" This leads me to my answer.

So for independence I might say, "how would someone who is independent behave in this scenario? What would someone with independence believe and think and say to themselves?" As I let these types of questions guide my actions and choices, I begin acting as if I were these things. Over time, you're no longer acting- you ARE this person. Over time you no longer have to ask yourself these already know what they would do, because you are them. 

We don't have any control over other people. You are not going to always meet people with the same values as you. There is nothing you can do about other people's values and beliefs. What we do have control over is our own values, and our own choices as a result of these values. At the end of the day, there isn't anything in your life that you aren't allowing to be there. Maybe that thing you need to dispose of is self-doubt. Maybe the value you need to adopt is confidence, and you need to start asking yourself what someone who loves themselves would say and do.

I absolutely believe that we, as people, can manifest the things we want in life. I believe if I tell myself every day that I am stupid, then every day I will make choices and actions that reflect and reinforce this belief. I believe that if every day in my mind, I pretend I am successful, and happy, and self-assured, I will eventually manifest these very things, because I am living as if I am these things already. 

Let's go back to those two exercises you did earlier. Look at those values you were able to identify and ask yourself what are you doing currently that brings you closer to those values? Write them down. Keep doing them. Then look again and ask yourself what are you doing currently that takes you further away from those values? Write them down, crumple them up, throw them away. 

I want you to ask yourself these two questions every day- what did I do/say today that led me closer to my values and goals? What did I do/say that led me further away? Act accordingly. Choose your life. Create your life. Love your life. 

And do yourself a favor and make laughter one of your values.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!

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