In one of my classes this semester, I had to come up with a list of five to seven core values. As homework is not one of my core values, I did the assignment on the fly during the class in which the list was due. Doing the assignment in the course of 15 minutes forced me to cut out all of the things I may have over-thought and really determine what defines me as a human being: passion, respect, joy, family, and focus. Today, I would add honesty and courage as two more qualities I value, but do not yet have a full grasp on.
Since doing that assignment, I’ve started to measure the aspects of my life against each value. Does that person have passion? Does that project inspire me to focus? Do I show enough respect to that authority figure? I learned by doing this that the things and people/relationship that give me true joy are the ones that fall in line with each value, and that honesty and courage appear without hesitation.
There’s a flip side to that. When a project or a person/relationship is missing just one of my five core values, courage and honesty are also missing. Lying is probably the one thing that stresses me out the most, and once I’ve lied, I am rarely able to humble myself enough to admit my lie and tell the truth. This is especially true when it’s a truth that may hurt someone.
In a grand experiment (read: accidental coincidence), I removed an ongoing project that didn’t fit my values from my life. The difference over the last two months has been immense. My stress levels, which should be rising with the intensity of my career and schooling, dropped. My health issues have started taking care of themselves. I am happier in each moment and I am attracting people and projects that meet each of my personal requirements.
There are still things I am terrified of addressing, but I know now have to be changed. I have allowed myself to settle into toxic relationships because I am afraid of hurting people. I have allowed myself to be pulled into projects that I hate because I don’t like to say “No.” Now is the time to dig in and find that courage to say, “I’m out.”
Now I want to know what would happen if you, dear reader, defined your values? What latent issues would you be forced to address? Would it scare you?
If you can’t even imagine what your core values may be, let me play you a song. Pay careful attention to the chorus. What changes would you have to make in your life for this song to be your personal theme song? We can take this journey together. It will be glorious.