What are your values? Speaking up starts with knowing what you want!

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A line in an old country song goes, “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” If you don’t know what your values are, you’re likely to give in to the whims of those around you instead of living the life you really want. 

It sounds like a weighty subject, but values are simply what you give value to in your life. Most people value love, family and friends. Many value their religious identity, a sense of personal freedom, and the ability to make choices.

What a person does (or doesn’t do) with his or her time can be a fairly clear indicator of a person’s values. Some people value work, others leisure time, some value solitude, others socializing, etc. While many people have similar values, each of us have unique values.

If someone feels forced to act in a way that is not in alignment with her or his values, it creates tension and stress. This is what causes a great deal of conflict in relationships. Conversely, when someone has the courage to share what it important to them and live out of their values, the result is a sense of peace and joy.

When I first learned this lesson it was incredibly freeing! If someone asked me to join a committee or go to an activity, I could immediately identify whether or not I wanted to take part. Running through my list of values I could instantly say “yes” or “no” based on whether it would enrich my important relationships, meet my need to make the world a better place, or contribute to my financial security (some of my core values).

When we identify our values and define them, we can ask for what we truly want. Even if we are afraid to speak up at first, we will at the very least gain insight into what is and isn’t making us happy and why.

Take some time to think about what it is you value and write it down. There are no right or wrong answers. You might have 3 core values that everything else relates to or you might have a dozen values that are all equally important. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get you started:

  • What am I doing (or not doing) when I am happiest?
  • What is something I just couldn’t live without?
  • What would I be willing to risk my life for?
  • When I think back over my life, is there anything that keeps recurring? If so, what is the common theme?
  • What qualities do I most admire in others? Are these values I aspire to?

Bobbie L. Dillon, M.S., empowers people to create Peace-Full Relationships™--fulfilling authentic relationships--as a Peace-Full Relationships™ Coach, Trainer, & Relationship Mediator™. Check out more resources and on-line and in-person classes at BobbieDillon.com. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, & LinkedIn.