Because they're more than words scribbled in to your journal.
Values. A word that I believe is spoken much more often than it is honored. And let me say, it is fucking hard to live a values-driven life in this day and age. But it is essential if you are a seeker, looking to be connected to greater meaning. I talk a lot about living a life by design, an intentional life, a life both on and with purpose. A great way to do this is my letting your values lead you. Once we become clear on what our values are, we can use them to help guide us toward our path, we can use them to realign when we veer off our path. It’s cool, it happens to the best of us.
Values are the things that you consider important in this life, your principles, the qualities or energies that you deem essential to living a wholehearted life. And there is no such thing as a universal value. 8 billion people...we’d be idiots to think we all think the same way. So this is your permission slip to stop imposing your values on other people. Seriously, stop. It’s a bad look boo. But what you can do with your values is use them to help you live a more aligned life for yourself. The key word here being “do”. Listen, it’s wonderful if you know what your core values are but then what?? These aren’t meant to be just some abstract idea that you can intellectually refer to at a party once in a blue moon. Hell no. Your core values only have meaning when they are applied, used, worked with. They are a decision making tool, they are a filter, a sieve, a guide to help you figure out this crazy thing we call life. Here are three ways you can begin to work with your core values.
The What-If Exercise.
Once a month or so, or perhaps with every New Moon, ask yourself: How would I be living my life if I let _______ (insert core value lead). If I knew that every single person was also letting _______ (insert same core value lead), what would I give myself permission to do?
Check in with yourself for the answers and once they arise, come up with 3 action steps that get you closer towards embodying that behavior. Remember we are the ones who create the world we live in. One by one, step by step.
Grab a piece of paper. On the left side write out your top 5 core values, leaving plenty of space between each value. In the middle, write out how you would like to be applying each value in your day to day life. On the right side, write out how you are currently applying each value in your day to day life. Take a moment to evaluate the gap between the middle column and the right column. Ask yourself: Why is there a dissonance and what do I have to do to bridge the gap?
Then do the fucking things.
The quick and easy
When faced with indecision, turning to our core values is one of the easiest ways we can determine what is a yes and what is a hell no. When you’re stuck in making a decision as yourself: What would ________ (core value say)?. Go through your top three and use the best out of three method.
These are some simple tools you can use to work with your core values in an applied manner. You can also use them to determine where you shop and spend your money (cause money talk y’all), who you allow into your life. They don’t need to have the same values as you, but do they respect yours? And so on and so forth.
Remember it is important that we know what our core values are. It is doubly more important that we actually live by them. That is, if we are seeking to live an aligned life on purpose.