Discovering what you really care about
Your values are the most important aspects of your life. What you value is what you have, do, feel and what you are moving towards. How many times do you say you value something but then act in opposition to that value? For example say you value having a healthy body but you eat sweet and savory foods every day. You really aren’t valuing health but instead valuing the sensory experience of the stuff you put in your mouth. Or say for example you say you value personal growth and development yet you don’t take actions towards grow and development, and instead sleep, rest and non-act. You are really valuing non-growth or sameness.
We often place a lot of judgment on ourselves when what we have in our life doesn’t align with what we think we want. In the above examples it would be judging ourselves for eating sugar or greasy foods or for not exercising regularly or sticking to our diet. Or in the second example it would be judging ourselves as lazy and undisciplined. And if we don’t judge or blame ourselves than we might default to judging or blaming others or our circumstances as the reason why we don’t have or feel the way we want. Neither of these strategies are useful in helping us get clear on our values or making choices aligned with them.
Now all of this can be hard to see and to swallow because it makes you 100% responsible for you and it also forces you to get clear on what it is you are really valuing. It also means that what you have in your life right now is exactly what you value even if part of you thinks it wants something different. So what do you do with that when what you have isn’t what you really want? Let’s talk about empowered value making…
Accepting what you truly value
Empowered value making
Once you begin to look at what you have in your life and how you feel and realize that it is this that you are valuing you begin to see how much impact and power you really have as the creator or map maker of your life. Looking at what you have and thus what you value forces you to step into the drivers seat. Up until the point where you really look you can still take a back seat to your life, meaning you can continue to let circumstances, situations, other people and your own judgments determine how you feel, what you have, etc. Essentially you can continue to be disempowered in your creation, but once you see you cannot go back. You realize its you that creates and you can’t unsee it.
Its this seeing or looking that ultimately is the first step and moves you into acceptance of what is; even if you don’t like what is at least you are looking at and seeing it. This is absolutely necessary for any transformation of self to occur and this step requires that you suspend all self judgement and other judgment. If you are still judging you have not yet accepted but remain at least partially in resistance to what is (which is always some aspect of yourself that you don’t particularly like). When you suspend judgment of yourself as lazy, or undisciplined, unloving, or mean, and simply feel and allow that part of you that may be all of those things, only then can you actually make a different value choice.
The steps to empowered value making are as follows: 1) You get clear on what it is you are actually valuing by looking at what you have, feel and do in your life. 2) You fully accept that what you currently have or are actively moving towards is what you value, even if you don’t like that it is what you are currently valuing. You do this by suspending judgment of yourself and what is. 3) You evaluate. When you evaluate it boils down to one of these two paths. First you must ask yourself “Have I been trying to force myself into valuing something different because I think I’m supposed to be different in some way?” For example do you really value being lazy (or relaxing) rather than constantly trying to create and grow? Maybe you actually value the rest but have been in such judgment that “rest is not acceptable.” Or perhaps you actually value savory and sweet foods but you think you are supposed to be in tip top shape, but have had such judgment towards yourself as being “overweight” or “unhealthy”. If you ask yourself that question and you realize that you have been valuing those things but not really allowing them, try allowing them for a bit and see how you feel. Eat some things you always restrict, take some time off of working out strenuously, rest.
If that is not the case and you really do value something else, then through clear seeing and feeling that you’ve been out of alignment with yourself you can now consciously and deliberately make that change in values. Now that you are no longer in resistance to the part of yourself that you were previously judging changing your value becomes effortless. It will still take some work, attention, commitment and focus to change habits and behaviors but it will be much easier now that you are in alignment with yourself.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado