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  • Writer's pictureSarah M.

How I Identified and Aligned with My Values

And how you can join me on this journey.



Do you live in alignment with your values? Is your moral compass guiding your decisions? Do you navigate life based on your ethical principles?


Humans like to define things. I know I do.

We like to label everything with definitions and boundaries so we can find a deeper understanding of our purpose, our feelings, and our lives.


When we can explain our existence, we feel a sense of belonging and less confusion. Our minds naturally seek order, asserting, "This is the meaning. That is the mechanism." It would be convenient if life were starkly black or white, a matter of this or that. Yet, life's intricacies often reside within the nuanced shades of gray.


Yet, we keep trying.

If we face problems and make choices based on what we believe, that's okay. Maybe we just need to change these beliefs a bit, like how the seasons change.

To see if you're living according to your values, first, figure out what those values are. Yes, embrace more definitions!


Just as big corporations adhere to a set of core values, urging their employees to align their decisions accordingly, you too can establish a personal set of guiding principles. Consider values such as honesty, integrity, sustainability, compassion, respect, or equality, but most importantly, choose them for yourself.



What does it mean to live by your values?


Let’s paint a picture for all the visual learners.

Imagine you're the captain of a magical ship sailing through the seas of life. Your heart is like the compass guiding your ship, and it's filled with your special treasures called values. These treasures are things like kindness, honesty, sharing, and being a good human.

Now, every choice you make, whether it's deciding to help someone or being honest about something, is like catching the right wind to sail your ship. Your ship (that's you!) always follows the path that your heart, the compass, points to. Just like a pirate ship follows the map to find treasure, you follow your heart's map of values to find the best kind of happiness and make the world - your world, a brighter place. So, living by your values is like being the bravest and kindest captain of your magical ship.


When you live in reflection of your values, you are placing a core set of definitions at the heart of your decision-making. You are staying true to the most authentic version of yourself. You are fulfilling your purpose or living your life by doing what you believe is right.


How do I identify and define my values?


What are your core values? In what direction does your moral compass point?

Identify your values by practicing self-awareness. Ask yourself questions and explore your feelings, goals, and desires. Here are some prompts to start with.


  • What are things you do that make you feel good about yourself?

  • Things that are incredibly important to you.

  • How do you want people to view you?

  • How do you want to view yourself?

  • When do you feel most like yourself?

  • What are some of your goals in life?

  • What words come to mind when you think of ethics and morals?

  • What is your ideal environment?

  • What are the accomplishments you are most proud of?

  • How do you want to grow as a person?


As you answer questions about yourself, you'll see some things you really like doing or care about. These are like your special guiding stars. Make two lists to remember them better: one for the really important stuff (that's the Core Values), and one for things you want to get better at (those are the Goal Values).


Core Values:

These are like your main rules. Things that you most closely align with.


Goal Values:

These are like little rules you want to get better at following. Things you want to work on.



How can I make sure I'm living by what's important to me?


Keep them upfront and in focus:

Write down your important values and what they mean to you. Put the list where you see it every day, like on the fridge or mirror. You can even add them to a vision board. This way, you'll keep thinking about them, and it'll become a habit to follow these important values. Share them with your core group of friends and family (inspiring them as well).


Know why they matter:

Think about why following these values is good for you. They can make you feel less stressed and more fulfilled. It's like having a guide that makes your life better. Understanding why these rules matter will help you remember to follow them.


Check-in with yourself when you make decisions:

We make choices every day. For the ones that need more thought, ask yourself questions before deciding. If you're having a hard time choosing, look at your values. They can guide you to the right decision.


Notice when things feel off:

Sometimes, if you do something that goes against your values, it might feel uncomfortable. Your values are like your inner compass, telling you what's good for you. It’s okay to be imperfect. Adjust your goals and values as you learn and change.



Before we part, I’ll leave you with a few powerful quotes to fuel your personal growth and inner alignment. (Please share your favorites on Instagram or in the comments)

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill
“When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of life itself.” - Eckhart Tolle
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” - Chinese Proverb

When you live by your values, you’ll notice that things will feel easier. It’ll improve your emotional health by helping you feel more at peace. Plus, you’ll unlock your potential, knowing you’re living in a way that’s authentic to you.


 


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