In my opinion they definitely could - curious? Well before we look at how that could happen, what are values?
“Values are ideas about the worth or importance of people, concepts or things. They motivate behaviour and guide evaluations and decisions.”
In other words they are really important to us, they are individual to us and they form our foundations in life. So what is unhappiness? Quite often it is the absence of something we want, something we hold dear, something really important to us.
Obviously there are many other reasons for unhappiness, but I believe that if we don’t have our values front and foremost in our life we will be unhappy, just because they are missing at a very deep level we will feel that loss.
There are many reasons why you might not be living your values but I think that if you can focus on three reasons, your happiness will improve exponentially.
1. Be crystal clear about what your values actually are
That might seem simple but I was about 30 before I really sat down and considered what my values were and there were a few surprises. For one thing, I was confused about a real value and a perceived value. For example, if one of your values is your physical well-being, I bet you have already been to the gym today or had a run, eaten healthy or done whatever you consider to the be the right thing to be physically well. If it is a perceived value of yours, it is something you think ‘should’ be important to you, and, I guess like me, you have put the exercise off for another day, or seen it as a chore. Any time you have a ‘should’ in your life you can bet you are looking at a perceived value. So be honest with yourself, and really identify those values. Then you can let go of all those ‘shoulds’, and the relief alone will make you happier.
2. Choose a life that matches your values
This is not always easy but once you have identified your values it will give you so much more choice. Whenever and wherever you can, always choose to live your life in a way that embraces your values - seize opportunities to bring them to fruition. If you live your life being the person in control and making the choices, you will find that even when you have to do something at odds with your core values or not completely in line with them, making an active choice, will make you feel more in control and happier. You will also be clearer on what is and isn’t negotiable.
3. Communicate them
Do you work to live or live to work? Be honest with yourself, and others. It will always be a struggle if you are one type of person but have let other people believe or expect you to be another type of person. You will always be in conflict, not just with them, but with yourself. Once you are clear about your values, you can set and communicate your boundaries, you can be open and honest about what you will compromise on and you will be happier as a result.
So, if you want your values to support your well-being and help you thrive not just survive, make sure you know them, choose to live them, and communicate them!
If you would like to work with one of our Values Coaches, then get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
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