I should do this…
I should do that…
They want me to…
I feel guilty if I …
All of this ‘shoulding’ on yourself can bring you down. This dims your light and your natural inclinations do not shine as brightly.
What Can Help – Define Your Values
Last month’s blog I spoke about living in alignment with your values. From the research I did I found information on identifying your values. (Excerpted from Mind Tools)
Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest
Find examples from both your career and personal life. This will ensure some balance in your answers.
- What were you doing?
- Were you with other people? Who?
- What other factors contributed to your happiness?
Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud
Use examples from your career and personal life.
- Why were you proud?
- Did other people share your pride? Who?
- What other factors contributed to your feelings of pride?
Step 3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied
Again, use both work and personal examples.
- What need or desire was fulfilled?
- How and why did the experience give your life meaning?
- What other factors contributed to your feelings of fulfillment?
Step 4: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment
Why is each experience truly important and memorable? Use the following list of common personal values to help you get started – and aim for about 10 top values. (As you work through, you may find that some of these naturally combine. For instance, if you value philanthropy, community, and generosity, you might say that service to others is one of your top values.)
Striving to Live These Values
Upon reflection, I determined that I value my:
- Relationship with ‘A’
- Freedom to choose
- Contribution – meaningful work
- Learning, creative outlets, open-mindedness, and inspiration
- Trustworthiness, honesty, respect, kindness
- Being in Nature – walking, swimming, canoeing, cross-country skiing
- Seeing the World – Adventures/Travelling, new cultures
- Certain level of physical fitness
- Connections with others, family, friends.
A Reminder of the Definition of Wellness
At the very start of this year in writing these aging well blogs, I had researched a definition of wellness and one of the experts stated:
Although it always includes striving for health, it’s more about living life fully, and is “a lifestyle and a personalized approach to living life in a way that… allows you to become the best kind of person that your potentials, circumstances, and fate will allow”.
Some Light-bulb Moments I Discovered
If I live by my values, this will connect up with becoming the best kind of person that my potential, circumstances and fate will allow. (This is an ‘aha’ moment!!!)
If I say I value something and then I do not pursue it or live it, life starts to lose meaning (another ‘aha’ moment!!!) If I start doing actions that show that I am living my values I will find more meaning and purpose.
It all starts coming together after writing these aging well blogs for 8 months!
I did not do all of the items on the list I originally proposed from last month’s experiment (July – finding meaning in life). See below. But I did invite people over and go biking on a new trail between Irricana and Beiseker. (Getting into nature on the prairies).
I always feel good afterwards catching up with friends or doing some type of exercise outside. This is connected to living the values I listed).
Upon reflection in writing the wrap-up for July, I am getting closer in alignment to my values in understanding what is important to me, which contributes to a life well lived.
How are you doing?
Are these blog posts giving you insights to areas you wish to pursue or enhance? As always, I enjoy your feedback.