Once again we are being driven back into our COVID cocoons, sheltering ourselves from wave after wave of this cursed and relentless pandemic.
Like facing a tsunami that just won’t quit, many of us are drowning in financial issues, relationship issues and our issues of feeling helpless and scared of an onslaught that is bigger than all of us.
Even our work is no longer about the workplace but for many some remote work space that leaves us feeling detached and re-examining our life paths. Suddenly. change has swiftly left us all feeling unable to control our lives or our destiny – and that doesn’t sit easily with anyone.
This is a time when AA’s serenity prayer “’God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” seems very relevant to all of us.
So what can I, as a life and business coach, say to support you at this time? Well, firstly have the courage to examine the main thing in your life that can assist you to be at least more in control of your own feelings, emotions and reactions to this uncontrollable situation: your core values.
The lockdown situation has been a challenging one from all angles, not the least of which is our relationships, so this article sets out to try to give you a list of the values that will help to support you, drive you and make you someone not only happy within themselves but, at least, for the most part, a pleasure to be with!
WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES?
You need to think about the values you hold and whether these are your values or if they derived from the influences of others in your family or community, the media (particularly social media – sometimes very misleading!), the Government, or simply archetypal influences – i.e. women are expected to be nurturers and men are expected to be providers!
Don’t get me wrong – it is important and helpful to have some good core values. They can make life decisions and goals easier to create and define, and relationships easier to decide on. One with clear core values is less likely to have negative thought patterns, especially in difficult life situations, be more easily able to tolerate physical pain, have greater self-discipline and stronger social connections.
This is all good and well and if we were all the same and happy to adhere to a set of archetypal core values, we would not need to examine our values, but the reality is that we are not and if we are to live fulfilled and meaningful lives we must establish that the core values we hold are driving us forward and not just anchoring us to keep our heads underwater when we face the storms of life. As the pandemic has too clearly shown us: there is a finite time for which you can hold your breath!
ARE YOUR VALUES HELPING YOU – OR HOLDING YOU BACK?
To ultimately live the best life we can, one with meaning and purpose, we need to analyse and examine our values and ensure that we are living by what makes us tick and not just led by the influences of the masses.
We also need to be cognisant of whether the values that we hold to be right are not making value judgements and being projected onto others. These would be values like culture, age, colour, religion etc…
HOW DO YOU DEFINE VALUES?
A very good article I read from Soul Salt speaks specifically about how we can define our values so that they become valuable to us and assist us to be comfortable, driven and inspired by those we admire to be better people ourselves.
Three very important questions you can ask yourself (and do take the time to ponder and write down your responses) to ensure your values are positive and adding value to your life are:
Who inspires you? As you think about these people, write down what it is about them that inspires you? The admirable qualities they possess and the behaviours and actions you would like to emulate.
What drives you? What are the things that make you want to take action and achieve something positive? Then think about the feelings that motivated you to take such action, what you were willing to risk in that situation and the results of taking action – what you gained or lost.
When are you comfortable with your values – and yourself? Think about when you are feeling very uncomfortable in a situation, as if your values are being undermined or insignificant to the other. Think about who you’re with at these times, what feelings are triggered and what these experiences cost you emotionally or physically.
Also, think on the opposite – the times that you felt very comfortable in a situation and your values were being re-enforced. When, as some would say, you become the ‘authentic’ you. At these times think about who you were: did they in any way inspire you? Also, think about the things you are usually doing when you feel authentic and how these feelings impact your life and your general well-being.
Now write down all the values that relate to the positive experiences and aspects of each of these three things. Be precise and ruthless, so you are left with just a small set of the most important values for you.
It is so important to keep these positive experiences firmly within your valued collection of positive values! You can also ask yourself: having done this soul searching – are your values perhaps defining you? At the end of the day, the trick is to ascertain how you can re-define your values to be a better you!
VALUES AND THE OTHER
We need to recognise that we are all very different from others. Many of us in the lockdown situation have been forced to recognise this as we suddenly realise that we don’t share quite the same values as our significant others – our spouses or partners and children.
Remember, you can only be your authentic self, so the best way you can become someone who accommodates and lives comfortably with others is to be comfortable with the values that drive you and make you happy. Being comfortable with yourself, and accepting that we possess different values, automatically makes you someone easier for others to be with because you are less likely to be judging them.
Remember these values will change throughout your life, and in certain circumstances (like those we are currently experiencing), so this is not a once-off exercise, but one that needs to be revisited from time to time when necessary.
My business, Self and More is dedicated to assisting others through holistically combining body, mind and soul techniques that lead to a more meaningful and purposeful life. I can assist you personally, or your business team, virtually or in-person when permitted, to ensure your life choices and clearly defined values are adding value to your life!
Talk to me about having a value-driven conversation about ensuring that your values can lead you through this storm and face wave after wave of adversity – accepting the things you cannot change and changing the things you can!
Be safe – be mindful and be positive.
Love and light, as always,