by Stephanie Foxley MCouns, MACA
10th May 2021
VALUES are at the core of self.
Understanding your values helps a person decide what is most important in their life.
Being able to identify those values is a little bit trickier, because values can be influenced by so many different things and it can be hard to recognise which are our values or those of someone else.
In general, values are related to the way in which we decide to live and work.
Our values should determine our deepest priorities, without any outside influence.
However, being influenced by outside sources happens whether we like it or not and these can impact our actions, unintentionally or intentionally, changing the way we behave or the way we live or the way we work.
When we live by our own values, we tend to be happy, content and relaxed.
When we move away from our values, by outside influences perhaps, we become unhappy, anxious and stressed.
We feel uneasy.
Living by our values is very important for our mental health, once we understand what our deepest personal values are, we are able to assess if we are living by them, or if we need to change the way we are functioning.
It is also important to understand that over time, our values may also change, depending on our life circumstances, but core values never leave us.
If you are thinking that that sounds like a contradiction in terms, you are right.
The point is, we have a set of core values that are at the centre of our being that are usually pretty sound, and yet some of our other values don’t have such strict boundaries and may alter as life develops, as we enter relationships, have children, develop our careers and so on.
What was important in the past, may not be so important now.
Values are the principles by which we live our lives.
Our earliest values are dictated by family, friends and relationships.
But as we grow and mature, we are able to fully identify and develop our own set of values.
Take a moment to think about your own values, perhaps make a list of them.
Where did those values come from, who influenced them and more importantly what influenced them?
Determining your values can be as simple as thinking about the things that have had a positive influence on your life, things that have made you happy, that make you feel safe, that you are proud of, et cetera.
Once you start thinking about your values, it is easier to understand your core values, the things that matter most, that are unwavering.
Sometimes it is hard to live by our values, because life throws curveballs at us that might try to knock us off track.
This is normal, it is how we react to these curveballs that is important — once we have identified our core values, handling difficult situations becomes less stressful.
For instance, identifying the direction in life we wish to take, making important or life changing decisions or knowing how to act in awkward situations becomes easier.
Being true to yourself is living by your core values.
These core values are the foundation for a strong and healthy, happy life.
If you cannot or have not identified your values, then how do you know when you have violated one of them?
Usually, it is because you have a deep sense of unease, you feel sick in the stomach, you become anxious or feel guilty or even shame.
Essentially, when we have identified with our values and live by them, we experience a deeper sense of happiness and peace of mind, we function better and become more productive, creative and respected.
It is important to remember however, that not everyone shares the same values.
Respecting your own values as well as other people’s values is important.
Remaining non-judgemental and respectful to other people’s values is an attribute that is worthy of being on everyone’s list of values for a more harmonious existence.
Stephanie Foxley has lived and worked in the Manningham district for over 20 years.
Now relocated to Queensland she offers online counselling services via Zoom.
Medibank, Bupa, Police Health Fund and Doctor’s Health fund accredited.
Member of ACA and CCAA and PACFA
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