Once a month, I get together with the amazing group of women from Spirit Flow lead my Mary Newstrom for a Shamanic Sunday Gathering.
This month, we talked about values.
You may be like, “Cool. Values. Moving on.”
But hear me out.
The idea of the values identification exercise is that you self-identify the values that you embody and then narrow them down to the top five to give a framework for how we want to live and make decisions in our lives.
Consciously choosing your values provides a powerful framework for how you to live your life. It helps guide who you are, how you show up, the work you want to do, who you surround yourself with, and even the partner you choose.
Most of us are living by the values that have been programmed by our families, caretakers, and society. That means that most of us are living unconsciously.
But wait…there’s more!
Not only are we living unconsciously, but we are living from a place of fear. Our own fear, the fear of our society, family, and ancestors.
I’ve done the values exercise several times personally and professionally with my coaching clients. I even included a values identification exercise in my best-selling book The Beautiful Un-becoming.
Even though I have done the values exercise numerous times before and this could have been an easy peasy task, I got the nudge to slow down and reflect this time.
I looked at each of my values and challenged myself to contemplate what each meant to me. Not thinking about what I “thought” I should choose or what others have said these values mean, but really what each meant to me.
I realized that even though I’ve dedicated the past three years to my own deep, transformative inner work that my top five values reflected my fears and were chosen from a place of defense.
Values that I unconsciously thought would protect me from other people, places, and things that could hurt me.
- Kindness and compassion – I wanted others to stop judging me, especially when I made a mistake, felt weak, or needed help.
- Transparency – I can deal with anything if I know what is happening. But I have been blind-sided too many times and I don’t like to be caught off guard.
- Self-responsibility – I once played the victim to my circumstances. Once I saw that was a choice, I no longer had the patience for myself of others who choose to be a victim.
- Equanimity – I grew up in a state of chaos. I recreated that chaos in my younger years and into be first marriage. I thought equanimity would bring me the calm I craved.
- Joy – I needed more joy in my life to offset the stress, struggle, and spiraling into the pits of despair that I often found myself in when I didn’t feel like I was living and authentic, aligned life.
Even after all that inner work, even after consciously recognizing that I historically motivated myself with fear, I was still unconsciously choosing fear.
This was a big realization for me.
I know that the only constant is change, and that the only thing I can control are my own actions and reactions.
So, I made the conscious choice, at least for this one Sunday Gathering, to take off my armor and let my fear take a break so I could choose my values from a place of love.
From this place, my values significantly changed.
- Spirit – Living in relationship with Spirit is my number one value. Trusting and surrendering to a power higher than myself, trusting that that there is a divine plan for all of us gives me the courage to live from a place of love, not fear.
- Love – It is a basic human desire to love and be loved for who we are, not what we can give or do for another person. Living from a place of love opens the doors of possibility and abundance.
- Oneness – We are all connected. To know this is to show kindness, compassion, love, and acceptance for all. Even when we only see the tip of the fear laden iceberg that often hides the pain and vulnerability of those we may not understand.
- Inspiration – Divine inspiration allows us to follow the cookie crumbs to an aligned, authentic, and inspiring life. To live our purpose in a meaningful and fulfilling way. I believe with every cell in my body that this is how we are meant to live.
- Joy – When we are living an aligned, authentic, and inspiring life, it will naturally be filled with joy. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be challenges or dark days. But it is the darkness that we learn to appreciate the light.
After reading back over and sharing my updated list of values with the group, I felt an internal shift.
The unconscious programming of fear was being dismantled and replaced with the conscious choice of love.
This doesn’t mean I won’t struggle with fear or unconsciously programming ever again. But it’s a start.
What are your values?
Do you make choices and decisions from a place of love or fear?
Maybe you’ve never thought about it. Most people don’t.
Here is your invite to do so.
This exercise will help you get clear on the values that you want to embody, and it can be used to understand the values that you want in your personal and professional life.
Grab a pen and paper. It’s time to reflect.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes and make a list of the top 10 values that you want to embody. You can use this list from Brené Brown as a reference.
- Review your top 10 and understand WHY you chose them. Write down your why for each value so you understand which you chose from a place of love or fear.
- Now, pick your top 5 values that you will use as your compass to navigate life. If a person, place, or thing doesn’t align with your values, then you know it isn’t for you.
- Keep your values in a place that you can reflect on regularly.
I suggest doing this exercise at least one a year. Your values will change as you continue to change and evolve over time.
Remember, your values are part of your inner compass to help you navigate life. You can keep operating unconsciously, or you can consciously choose how you live your life. You, and you alone, hold that power.
Stay curious, my friends!