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Clarifying and Living Your Values
Last month we asked, "what are you passionate about?" This month we are going a little deeper--to that place where beliefs and passions are formed, your values. Values are what we use as a means to know our true selves. They define us in a unique way and give us a solid foundation on which to build our life and relationships. When two people are considering a committed relationship, they should share values in those areas most important to them.
When you think about the word "values", what specific things come to mind? Your list would probably include, spiritual (religion), importance of family and children, priority of work and career, how you view the importance of material things, roles of men/women, and your general ranking of life's priorities. How much thought have you given these as you look for your right person? Are these things you have discussed in past relationships or ones you plan to discuss when you meet that special person? Or do you make the all too common mistake of assuming that if you basically get along well and come from similar backgrounds that your values must be the same.
Try the following exercise to help you clarify what your values are and which ones you hold most dearly. Choose your 8 most important values. Rank the priority of each on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest.
Next, make an action plan for each. This involves working to bring your behavior into step with your beliefs.
Now, compare your behavior with what you believe your values are. How well do they match up? If they are out of alignment, ask yourself why? Is it perhaps that you are responding to what you think others want you to be? Or perhaps you have lost sight of what is most important to you. If so, this could be at the root of why your life may not be working for you. Ask yourself if you are committing enough of your time to what you value most? Addressing this critical part of yourself will help to turn your life in the direction that is right for you.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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