We all have values. Our values aren’t imposed on us by the outside world (although they may have been shaped by it). They are deep within us. They are “must haves” in our lives that make us come alive, feel connected and content.
Our values play out in our lives, regardless of if we have ever taken the time to name them. They play out when our behaviors are aligned with them and we feel great joy. And they play out when our behaviors are incongruent and we experience great suffering.
For instance, if you had a value of “expressing creativity” when you spend time painting daily you would feel joy. However not having the time to paint might make you feel like something is off and out of alignment in your life. If you weren’t conscious of your value of “expressing creativity” You might blame your suffering on your circumstance--your job that requires you to work 9 hours a day, or your family that is demanding of your time. But when you acknowledge the value behind the unhappiness, you are empowered to begin to bridge the divide between your value and your life experiences.
Acknowledging your values in and of itself may not in instant improve your situation (but it might!!) However taking the time to name your values, can truly transform your life. By naming them, you can clearly begin to take steps to align yourself with those values. When you realize how important “expressing creativity” is to you; maybe you decide to do arts and crafts with your kids in the evening or take on designing the bulletin boards at work. By knowing your values, you are empowered to live more fully by them.
We all have some sort of value around our bodies and health, what are yours? Is your value “being a size 6” or might it be “to be healthy”? Is your value to “being 130lbs”? Or is your value “feeling satisfied with how you look”? You cannot be a size 6 today if you’re not already, nor can you lose weight in an instant. But you can immediately start honoring a value of being healthy. Chances are that fad diets or engaging in excessive exersize won’t be in alignment with a value of being healthy. But eating whole foods, feeling energized, and giving your body movement that is enjoyable, will. If your value is “feeling satisfied with how you look” Comparing yourself to everyone around you and focusing on the number on a scale isn’t going to help honor that value. However wearing clothing that suits your current body and paying attention to your positive attributes, probably would.
The more you’re aware of what is really important to you, the more you will be naturally be directed to behaviors, people, tools and experiences that are in alignment with your values. The amazing thing about focusing on honoring values is that the impossible becomes possible.
What values do you have about your body and your health?
How do you honor those values?
How could you honor them more fully, starting right now?
"Values provide perspective in the best of times and the worst”