Our values lie at the very core of who we are. The more clearly we understand and articulate our values, the more profoundly we know ourselves.
As Deepak Chopra has said, “Without values, there is confusion and chaos.”
How well do you know yourself?
Here’s a question to ponder today: How well do the choices you make in your daily life and the ways you use your time actually reflect what you feel is important?
When you step back and take a look at this, you may be surprised at what you discover. It’s not at all unusual for our consciously-held beliefs and our actions to be a little bit out of sync. If you syspect that’s the case for you, DON’T judge yourself.
Instead, let’s dig deeper and see what values are all about.
Values From the Inside Out
Your unique, personal value system is made up of two sets of values. I describe them as internal and external; and they have a profound influence on how you see the world and how you use your time and energy.
Your external values involve areas of your life that tend to be more concrete and visible, in a way. They would include things like your work, your health, and your family. As you grew through childhood, you most likely either absorbed or rebelled against what you were being taught by your parents. Or perhaps, as many of us have, you did both at different stages of your life.
As your vantage point evolves, you redefine the values of your parents and grandparents, along with their importance to you. In addition, as you move through your own developmental stages, the relative importance of different values will shift. For example, as you age, the significance you place upon your health and spirituality might increase, while the emphasis you place on your work might diminish.
Internal values and you: Just as external values provide a frame for your actions in the world, your internal values provide a context for your activities.
Your internal values are process-oriented. They are less concrete than external values, as they are all about a way of being. For example, you might value integrity, responsibility and authenticity. These give you a context or frame for how you live.
And again, as with your external values, the direct and indirect teaching of your parents helps shape your internal values, as well.
So, what are your external values?
The following very brief exercise will help you explore and identify your external values and see how they manifest in your life.
- First, write down 3-5 of your most important external values.
- Next, prioritize them with “#1″ being most important.
- Then, list 5 of the most significant activities for each value. This makes your values visible!
As you clarify this picture for yourself, you will likely find that you make time choices more consciously and more effectively.
This has a profound impact on your moments, because the better you know your heart, the more you deepen your experience of time.© Copyright 2013 Paula Eder, Ph.D.