Having a happy relationship, rewarding career, great friendships, financial security and peace of mind is only possible through living a life of integrity.
Integrity is thinking and acting in ways that align with your core values and beliefs. It’s impossible to live in a way that honors who you really are without being clear on exactly what your core values are.
You become authentic and attractive to others when your values, thoughts, communication, behavior and life choices are an expression of your best self. In this way, you draw positive people, situations and opportunities that share the same frequency or energy toward you. Dr. Bernard D. Beitman discusses a similar phenomenon in his Psychology Today article discussing interpersonal energy.
Your values represent your ideals, principles, and standards for living and since you are unique, your core values will be completely suited to you. I am always fascinated when I work on values with people in my Toronto therapy practice. Everyone has a vastly different values configuration where no two sets are identical. Since your ideals and beliefs are so individual they come to light through your intuition and introspection. Being resolute in your value moves you away from pain and puts you on a path to personal success where all of your goals and dreams take shape.
When you live without using your values to back your actions and decisions, you end up thinking and behaving in ways that will ultimately create a life that won’t serve you.
Living a lacklustre life includes having unsatisfying relationships, debts, secrets, sense of guilt, spending time with people who drain you, eating unhealthily, spending too much time on social media and not making exercise a priority.
Without a strong set a of values, succumbing to the pull of distractions, addictions (e.g. to drugs, relationships, religion, shopping, hoarding, eating and compulsive care-taking) and –isms such as workaholism, alcoholism, rageaholism, sexaholism and perfectionism becomes inevitable as a way to numb your emotional pain and avoid your problems.
How does not knowing yourself even happen? Some of it stems from your education where you’re taught to memorize facts and write papers that match defined rubrics instead of thinking critically and trusting your inner wisdom. Being ushered along a traditional life path by your friends, family and others creates further uncertainty and fills you with doubt,
Ultimately, you are the only person that knows where your true path lies, but to find it you need to channel your confidence and spend time alone with your thoughts in some form of meditation. It’s here that you will encounter your own wise guidance, greater awareness, clarity and a level of self understanding.
Aligning with your values and allowing them to guide your life choices offers you a solid foundation to steady and protect you through the ups and downs of life. Your values provide a life raft to protect you from the storms and stresses you encounter. They take you out of the chaos and bring you into a state of flow, a frame of mind where you become energized and completely focused on the present. Flow is the place that happiness is attained, creativity is enhanced, performance is heightened and innovation is imminent.
Some questions to ask yourself to help determine which values are most meaningful to you are:
- What qualities do you admire in your closest friends?
- What strengths were passed on to you from your family?
- When do you feel most proud of yourself?
- What beliefs are you willing to defend at all costs?
- What do you hope will be written in a biography about your life?
- What ideals and standards do you want to be associated with?
There are many excellent values lists available for you to reference. I particularly like this comprehensive values list from Live Bold & Bloom where the author, Barrie Davenport lists 100 values with definitions and also provides another 400 values in a .pdf you can download.
Take some time to reflect on what your values are. Pick 10 and carry them with you as a reminder of who you are and what you want at this time in your life. At some point who you are now will change as you enter a new life chapter. So, go back from time to time to refine your list so that it continues to be an accurate reflection of you.
Be courageous and devoted to living your values every day.
Being true to your values represents your commitment to living a fulfilling life and is the greatest testament to your self love and sense of worth.
What are your top 10 values?