What on earth are values; We know we have them but identifying and defining them can be complicated.
Key to answering the question on a personal level; ‘What are my values?’ Is identifying what it is you as an individual place value upon. You may place value on food, style, relationships, travel, education, art, pets. I don’t know, I am not in a position to identify it for you.
Sometimes in order to identify a value you need to peer beyond the thing, to see the cause not the effect. For example, you may spend all your spare moments, and maybe some not so spare moments gaming, and initially you may think clearly you place a value on gaming. So the temptation is to stick the label on that and there you go we have identified our first value. Right – wrong. Different people will participate in a given activity for quite divergent reasons. So one person’s reason for gaming all the time may be to escape, too exist in a virtual dimension where their imagination can soar. Another person likes the complexity of overcoming obstacles and finding solutions and climbing through the stages. Another person may be drawn to the graphics the art and design and aesthetics. And yet another is a techy individual who simply must engage with the latest developments in the technology.
So in fact it’s necessary to look at least beyond the first layer, once the layers have been pulled away we begin to get to the core of the matter and we can identify say in the case of the four illustrations above, that individual number one places value on narrative, upon the story behind a thing and the interweaving tapestry of stories. Individual two is ambitious and competitive and needs to win, they place a value on achievement. Individual three is fundamentally aesthetic they place a value upon design, style, and beauty. And individual four can’t wait to see the latest version of whichever game they appreciate, their values are discovered in their love for progress and being an early adopter.
I hope you get the general idea. We all have a number of values, so identifying as many as possible will help however you don’t need to overdo it. Once you have identified your core values it is important to own them. Like the other things in the process of self-discovery the process of writing it down is key to establishing the thing as something you regard valuable.
Identifying your values enables you to direct your life. To live without placing a value upon your values leaves you open to others imposing their values upon you and re-directing your energy to fulfil their agenda. Do I sound paranoid. You’ll be surprised. As human beings we are constantly utilising energy. Energy is required to live generally, but if you wish to live a purposeful meaningful life you’ll need to direct your energy very purposefully. Identifying your values and owning them enables you to direct your energy to doing what you love, living a life that is personally fulfilling. This is holistic living at its best.
So again let me illustrate from our previous example; person number one recognises the value they place upon narrative and rather than simply hiding away inside a computer game, immersed in the story the game lets them escape in, they recognise they also have a gift for creating narrative and that they gain fulfilment using their imagination to tell stories, so they develop this gift and become a writer making scripts for the radio and film industry. Individual twos competitive value when identified and explored enabled them to realise they had the internal drive to become a successful business man, climbing the ladders, overcoming the obstacles to fulfil their potential.
However, person number three never sees the unique potential in their love for all things aesthetic, therefore rather than finding ways to express this and explore the possibilities they listen to people who think that all things aesthetic are shallow and for shallow people who can’t see beyond outward appearances. Therefore, they hide their true values and adopt other peoples values to please people who also are not in tune with their values because of adopting the values of yet others. As they have no outlet for the things they truly love and desire their subconscious looks for alternatives, to scratch an itch they refuse to acknowledge. Person number tree becomes hugely overweight from eating more than they should seeking soul fulfilment in the bodily sensation of consuming fatty foods. As they hate the way they look because of their love for all things aesthetic, they get depressed and eat more and find themselves on a downhill spiral. Am I making any sense, someone knows exactly what I’m talking about.
When you recognise the importance of values, you place value on values and respect the values of others also. One person’s values need not encroach upon the values of another and as we saw from the example of person number three when everyone is supressing their values for some assumed ideal no one is living a happy fulfilled existence. Consider how much society has moulded your values, consider what values you’ve had imposed on you by your upbringing. We adopt others values sometimes subconsciously and it requires insight to identify your own soul’s values and to embrace them and live your truth. However, it is the only way to living a holistic and purposeful life that has meaning to you. So let’s say individual number four places a value on progression and innovation, when they recognised this, they choose to delve into their own creativity and become instrumental in developing a solution to real life problems and as a result created an industry that stemmed third world poverty and enabled people to connect in creative ways. Our untapped potential requires recognition and cultivation, placing a value on our values enables us to live valuable existences.