“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I’d like to talk a little bit about values today. I’ve recently been assessing mine and considering their importance and contribution to living a life of purpose.
So what is a value? To me, a value is something that you consider important in your life. You may value things or people, but a value in and of itself in this context usually refers to a concept. It refers to standards of behaviour, morals and what you consider to be important in your life. Unlike moral objectivity however, I believe values can be subjective.
For example, I value self knowledge. I cultivate it in myself and I’m happy when the people in my life also value it. I also value honesty, curiosity, empathy and humour among other things.
So how do I know these are my values? Well, you start by asking yourself some questions, like;
What parts of myself do I strive to improve?
Who in my life do I respect and admire most, and what are their traits and values that lead to this admiration?
What would make me unhappy if I or the people around me lacked?
For example, if a loved one lacked empathy, and could never see things from my perspective, I’d feel unhappy. Therefore, I value empathy. Now if I value empathy in other people, then it follows that I should cultivate it within myself. In fact, I should strive to be the most empathetic person I know. Only then can I justly request that those around me consider it important too.
Now to reach this place, I might have to do a lot of work on myself. This could mean reading books, watching videos, talking to someone who’s already good at it, practising it consciously with those around me and not being hard on myself when I don’t get it right. It means more that we try!
So why is all this worth it? Well, it brings you closer to your true self. The more you connect with your values, the more you can integrate them into who you are. You can live life the way you really want to, instead of going through the motions of life and adopting hour values from the influences around you. It’s easy to get tangled up pretending to value what the people around us do. We all do it to some degree, and that’s ok, it allows us to get by without ruffling feathers. But now it’s time to ruffle them. Throw off the cloak of your false self. Dig deep and discover what’s really important to you. The people that really matter will be inspired by your authenticity and you might just change someone else’s life. People notice when you live with integrity and your subconscious will notice too. This can bring an amazing level of inner peace that you might not have even known was missing.
Good luck on your journey and let me know how it goes.