Living your values is part of creating long term pleasure and happiness. What are your core values? You may have many values, but what are your top 5?
Put Your Values into Your Life
List your core values. Now list different ways you can put that value into practice, given facts of your life right now. If you value helping others, how do you do that? If you value curiosity and learning, how do you live that? Maybe you take classes, spend time learning from youtube videos on a regular basis, have a mentor, or teach yourself something based on trial and error.
If you have a busy schedule and you value curiosity and learning and you also value having free time, how do you live so those values don’t conflict? You want to spend time learning and you want to have free time. If both of those are strongly held values, then you will experience stress due to a values conflict.
Your personal values may also conflict with cultural values. If your culture has a value of accumulating wealth and you value living simply without pursuing financial gain, that will be a values conflict for you.
An important point for emotionally sensitive people is that sometimes your values will conflict with your feelings. You may feel like doing one thing but your values say do another. Imagine you value compassion yet are very angry with your friend. Acting on your feelings will create a values conflict. Afterward you will be upset with yourself and regret not living your life authentically, in the way that is important to you. Living your values helps you regulate your emotions.
Values Conflicts Create Dissatisfaction with Your Life
When you have a values conflict, you will experience stress and discontent, whether the conflict is between two of your own values or between your values and your culture’s values. Finding a way to live your values and respect yourself when the culture does not share your values and/or when your own values conflict is a challenge. Accepting and balancing your values is important to being satisfied with your life.
Finding the balance that works for you may be trial and error. Only you can know what the right balance is. You have a finite amount of time each day. Most likely you must spend part of your day on tasks you must do. That leaves limited time for extra activities to put your values into action. Be mindful of not judging yourself for living your values, for the times you can’t put your values into action in your life, or for reacting to the judgment of your culture.
Giving up a high priority value is not an option that will build long-term happiness without very careful thought. If you sacrifice one value for another, make that a conscious choice that you consider very carefully.
Consider your values and how you can put them into action. Consider any values conflicts you might have and what skills you will use to cope with those conflicts. Remember you can solve the problem, change your perception of the problem, or accept what is.
On the table below, enter two of your primary values under the heading “Value.” Enter the way you plan to put your values into practice under the day of the week that you plan to do it. Having simple ways to live your values that you can do everyday is helpful.
Values I Want to Live
How I lived my values on
Values in Conflict:
What I will try:
How it worked:
What I will try if first/second/third solution doesn’t work: