A few months ago I started Brene Brown’s online semester of Living Brave.
Through this course she touches on the things that allow you to be brave through vulnerable moments. One of the easiest ways to stay true to your authentic self when you get in a hard situation is to bring it back to your values. By weighing all of your choices through this filter you will be better guarded in responding in a way that lines up with who you know yourself to be and the standard that you are choosing to live your life by.
val·ue: a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.
When I look at the way I want my live my life, or the things that are most important to me there are a few things that pop into my brain. Of course, I could go through the list of a hundred “things that matter,” but I have broken it down to two different words that represent the core of what I believe is the most important filter for me to live my life through.
For me, these two values are self- respect and authenticity. For you they could be any of an abundance of things. Family, faith, sensitivity, acceptance, approval, adventure, balance, beauty, resourcefulness, simplicity, integrity, dignity, forgiveness, patience, loyalty. The list of options to hold as your value system could go on and on, and will most certainly look different for everyone.
This is where we all have something in common though- Your value system is defined by the things that matter most to you. The things that most define your character. When you are not living in your values your life tends to fall apart around you and you begin acting entirely out of character for yourself. When you are in your hardest spots, this is where you go to map your way out of it.
When I am not living in cohesion with my values, my life doesn’t represent me well.
After defining which are my core values, I began focusing on the things that hold those values up. What activities, people and processes help me to continually stay in line with my values.
If spirituality is one of your words, then maybe furthering your knowledge is one of your actions that keeps you on track. If family is most important to you, then calling your mom every day may push you further. Maybe you have a friend or mentor who shares a similar value to you and will always hold you accountable to those things.
These are the pieces I have learned to hold near and dear- the ones that keep me in check and keep me growing.
When my values get out of whack I can see it so clearly. It kinda bonks me upside the head, and usually way too late in the game, because I can look at the choices I’ve been making and so blatantly recognize that these are results to not being true to myself. I have a list of these things to keep on file so that when I start seeing them happen, I can know that I need to reevaluate where I stand and how I’m approaching my life.
Insecurity is a red flag for me. When I begin doubting myself and my abilities, when I create jealousy towards others, or talk down on my skills or triumphs I can guarantee its because I have not been acting through authenticity.
I have a terrible case of the people pleasers and it pulls my authentic self out of its shell, lays it out nice and neat, and begins using it as a doormat to walk over as I go through my relationships. The moment I allow my people pleasing to take over I begin doubting myself. I start making choices that accommodate others but leave me feeling hurt and insignificant. I take everything that I know to be true and suddenly start morphing it and molding it to what others believe. So what do I need to do? Go back to my values. Look at my Truths, and establish how I actually feel about things, not what others have told me I should feel.
Defining my values has given me a new filter to live by, a new way to work through situations. Do I do it every day? Absolutely not. In fact, I probably do something that is opposite of my values at least once a day.
But through most things, I can look at my life and know that it is moving in the right direction. Because the majority of my decisions, the majority of my actions are made through love for myself, and out of respect for what I hold to be most valuable.
And when I am living this way, things flourish. I can feel it. Everyday it molds more and more into a life I value, recognize, and feel at home in, rather than a life of insecurity and discontent.
What values do you hold near? How do you protect them and use them to mold your actions? I want to see an awesome list building below!
If you’re just joining us in the Love Myself Series, swing by these posts: