Our core values are things we hold deeply. To live an authentic life, our actions, decisions and investments must be aligned with those values. Otherwise, we live inauthentically--and wonder why we feel a lack of purpose or personal meaning.
- They never stopped to identify them (if you don't know your values, you can't live in alignment with them)
- They're living according to someone else's values (parents, teachers, peers, culture, religion, media)
- They've outgrown past values (yep, your values can--and do--change!)
- They've deemed some of their true values as frivolous, embarrassing or immoral
Have you took the time to consider a host of values so you can drill down to figure out yours? My free list of values for you to explore will help you determine your core values. Click here to grab it from DropBox.
Do any of the values on the list make your blood boil? Stirs your heart? Makes you wish the world would change to reflect? These are important clues as to what you really, truly value.
When examining the list and narrowing down potential values, ask yourself: "Is this really my value? Or is it one my religion says I should have? Did I pick this up from the media as something trendy or important--or perhaps this is a value my Mom, Dad, favorite teacher or culture holds dear?"
Believe it or not, your values can change. What you value at age 20 may not be what you value at age 50. As you change, your values may change. This could be because of a life-altering event such as serious illness, natural catastrophe, accident, loss of a loved one or a pandemic. Or, on the happier end, a joyful marriage, new baby, job promotion, spiritual epiphany or positive lifestyle changes.
Lastly, some people discount a deeply held value because they're embarrassed about it. Perhaps a religious tradition deemed certain values "bad" or "immoral"--like Wealth, Achievement, Fame or even Beauty. But no value on the list I provided is "bad" or "good"; they're all neutral. If you have a core value, you can't just say "Well, I don't value that" when, in fact, you do hold it dear.
Ignoring or sublimating it will just make you miserable--and you'll likely act and choose according to your value anyway, even if subconsciously. Your inner critic will then likely eat at you, shaming you for pursuing that value (let alone think about it).
So it's time to come clean. Figure out your deeply held values.
Your values. No one else's.
Then, start making choices--and spending time and money--on those values.
That is what authenticity is: living according to your core values.
What about you, dear reader? Care to share your values? Need help discerning what your core values are? Noticing values you thought were yours--but aren't? Weigh in down below in the comments!
P.S. If you truly detest one of your core values, then you can always drill even deeper and ask yourself why that value is important to you. This is one of the things I can help with as a Life Purpose Coach.