Living and Breathing Your Values

is there something stopping you from feeling alive but you are not sure what it is? Do you wonder why you end up in the wrong relationships or the wrong jobs? Do you feel unfulfilled but unsure as to what to do about it? Well, maybe you can work out what is going on by looking at your values and whether you are living the values that are most important to you.

In my previous blogs on values I’ve mentioned that it can be a good idea to do a values audit: work out what your key values are (between three and five) and then decide how much time you spend being driven by these values. Deciding and saying what our values are is completely different from living and breathing these values. It can be good to know that feminism or courage, for instance, are really important to us, but knowing it and putting those values into practice on a daily basis are two completely different things.

If you’ve done some exploration and realised that you aren’t living and breathing your values as much as you want, I’d like to try and help. There are three main ways we can live and breathe our values. These are time, relationships and words.

Time

Have a think about how much time you spend on projects or tasks related to your values. If you feel unfulfilled in your job it may be as simple as the fact that you are not immersed in your values enough. For instance, if you love being creative but work in administration you might not feel you get much chance to be creative. I know that it’s necessary to be realistic (ie we can’t all give up our job because we’ve realised we want to work in a creative role or in a role that helps combat climate change) but, what is possible is to work towards a. long term goal (so that we can ultimately do something different) and also to think of the small ways we can bring our values into the current role. For instance, is there the possibility of getting involved in new projects at work that are creative or is it possible to help the company work towards becoming carbon neutral?

Sometimes the issue with our job is less about the role and more about the culture of the organisation. You may question why you are unhappy at work because you are happy with the role itself. It may be the company’s outlook that goes against your values. For instance, integrity or honesty may be very important to you but the organisation may not display these values. In this case you may need to ask yourself if there is anything that can be done about the culture, or at least the part of it you work in. If not, you then need to decide whether to leave or whether the job role itself is enough for you.

Relationships

When it comes to relationships there are two ways we can live and breathe our values. Firstly, it is in the relationship itself and how we act in it. If you consider honesty as something very important, how honest are you in your relationships? Be honest now! If you value vulnerability, do you allow others to be vulnerable with you as well as the other way around?

Secondly, it may be necessary to decide how compatible others values are with you own. There will always be differences and differences can be very healthy but there are some occasions where the difference may be insurmountable. We may decide, for instance, that we can’t have a partner who isn’t committed to combatting climate change.

Words

Sometimes words are underestimated or aren’t valued enough. There are so many words around us all the time: people talking to us, social media, TV, books and news sites. Words can seem very disposable but perhaps that shouldn’t be the case. Arguably, we say things all the time that are not quite true or masking something in some way. Someone might ask us if we are okay and we say ‘yes, I’m fine, thanks’ when we are actually upset, but if one of our key values is vulnerability then we are not doing ourselves any favours.

Perhaps, also, we don’t acknowledge the times when it could be a good idea to speak up for a certain cause or value. Perhaps you might think that no one is going to listen to you or that there are enough voices already. There are never enough authentic voices. Say what you need to say, Goddess.

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