Getting clear on your own personal values can be one of the most powerful practices to do. There are a few ways to gain insight into what truly matters to us. In this article, we’ll go through a few of those strategies.
Values help in living intentionally
Getting clear on your own values makes it easier to live life in an intentional way. It can be so easy to get sucked into the drama of daily life or chasing ambitions that are placed on us by society, as opposed to actually coming authentically from within. Being clear on your values is a powerful way to reground yourself with what matters.
Values are a great social connecter
In addition to this, getting clear on your values can be a great way to connect with others. Studies have shown that one of the most important factors in a successful relationship is that you share values. This is true for both romantic and platonic relationships. So getting clear on your values can be a powerful way to build a solid and long-term community.
What are your values?
Finding what’s unique to you
When looking at values, it can be helpful to look at yourself and what makes you unique. Sometimes, we can get blind to our uniqueness — because it is right in front of us. Since we are with ourselves all the time, and it is truly the only experience we fully know, it can be easy to not appreciate how that may differ from others. Perhaps you assume that others feel the same way you do because it’s all you know.
One way to get clear on what is your experience is to use the power of stories and language.
Think of 5 times when you felt most alive. Write down what happened and how you felt. Try to get detailed.
Now, look at your stories. Are there any reoccurring words? Are there any themes? What is emphasized in your stories? Who are in your stories? What are you doing? These things are unique to you and can be a key to understanding your interval values.
Generally, using language and writing can be a great way to gain clarity. Getting your internal thoughts and worries out on paper can be useful to understand where our soul is currently at. Worries, fears, and guilt, can be a great indicator of living not fully according to your values.
Stream-of-consciousness journaling can help to get the thoughts out on paper.
Another useful journaling strategy is using journaling prompts. They can force us to think about larger and important questions. Taking the time for journaling prompts periodically can be a great way to keep yourself on track with your values.
Shared human values
The values in being human
According to Epicureanism, there is value in embracing your own nature — being human. Many people find value in following what humans are sort of evolutionary adapted to do. We are adapted to eat, be part of a tribe, raise new little humans, and create and contemplate.
Common “human” characteristics that many people find value from:
- Raising a family
- Being part of a community
- Eating and living healthily
- Learning and growing
Common values in religion and philosophy
Many people use religion or philosophy to gain clarity on their own values. These often formulate values that are commonly shared, so looking at values of various religions and philosophies can be helpful too.
Values can change
Once you know your values, make sure to return to them from time to time to ensure that you are living accordingly to what matters. Values can change, so it may be something to re-assess periodically as well.
Hopefully, these strategies are helpful to gaining clarity on your own personal values. Being clear on your personal values helps in avoiding living with regrets makes it easier to build a life that is fulfilling and meaningful.