What are values? Have you ever thought about it? 'Our values are an internal representation, like a picture, feeling, or sound, of what is encoded in your subconscious mind as being the most important things to you in an area of your life,' so says Tish Thorpe, a Master Educator at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing. She goes on to say, 'In cognitive psychotherapy, core values are considered to be deeper than beliefs...they hover at the level of our unconscious, or subconscious, mind.'
I found out, too, that values are imprinted on us long before our beliefs are programmed; as images in our unconscious mind. This happens to us all as young children, or tadpoles. The Imprint Age: (0 to 7) - We absorb everything like sponges. We soak up everything we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch; The Modeling Age (8-13) - We model, or adopt, those behaviors and attitudes of the people/frogs we look up to. We copy other people and try on different ways of being; The Socialization Period (14-21) - This is when we try to figure out where we fit into society. We begin to develop our individuality and start to throw out some of our earlier programming that no longer serves who we are as adults. Then, in our 20's and 30's, we develop our business persona...how we present ourselves to the outside world. This why college degrees don''t always work for everyone. Most of us pick our college majors at age 18 or 19 and then, by the time we're in our mid-to-late 20's, or older, those areas of interest and specialization are no longer valid and then what happens to that degree? It winds up getting put into a drawer and forgotten. We've long-since moved on to another career path.
Ms. Thorpe tells us that it is important to know your values; it can determine 'what you do with your time and how you evaluate the time you spend.' Your top five values are, really, the most influencial when it comes to defining our lives. While all of our values are important, these top five are the ones that shape our behaviors and help us prioritize our time. Not sure what your values really are? I mean the ones that are truly yours and not not those that have been thrust upon you by someone, or something, else. Here's a way to determine your values:
1. Choose an area of your life that you'd like to determine your values; it could health and fitness, or relationships, your career, etc.
2. Ask yourself, "What's important to me about....(that paticular area of your life).
3. Write down a list of words that come to mind.
4. When you've run out of defining words, then number them in order of their importance to you. I know, they're all important, but do your best to try and number them. Remember, we're looking for the top five most important ones.
5. Next, rewrite your list, on a clean sheet of paper, listing those words in their order of importance.
Voila! There you have your values for that particular area of your life. Not so difficult now, was it?
Your values should support your goals in life and vise versa. When you coordinate your decisions to support both your values and your goals you can achieve the things that are most important to you. And it makes decision-making a whole lot easier! If you don't do this, you run the risk risk of living a life that's willy-nilly. Living a balanced life will bring you new-found joy, experience, and satisfaction. And what a great way to start off the New Year!