How to Live a More meaningful Life Using Personal Values
Do you ever feel regret, rigidity, envy or boredom in your life? If you answered yes, you may be due for an alignment. Not an alignment on your vehicle but on identifying your personal values and living life in alignment with them.
What is a personal value? Personal value is a chosen standard of living that is uniquely meaningful to you. Identifying a personal value is based on thoughtful reflection of what is authentically important to you as the individual.
Is a personal value being the best at work, being a good friend, or having lots of money? The answer is no, and here is why. A value is not a goal or a checklist but rather a guide to help you find direction and meaning in life. There is no right or wrong value to live by, nor does it have to be based on a societal or cultural norm. If you resonate with being the best at work, you may value achievement, ambition, growth, or leadership. If being a good friend resonates with you, you may value belonging, connection, or loyalty. If you relate to having lots of money, you may value stability, independence, or contribution. A value does not seek to provide instant comfort and pleasure but rather a deeper form of satisfaction and enrichment with your life.
How do you identify a personal value? It is important to note that values come from within. Often, we depend on outside sources to give us the answer, but a value will not feel right to live by unless it is authentically significant to you. It is also important to ask yourself, “what is meaningful to me in this present moment?” Our values can change over time as we grow and evolve and that is okay.
Questions to ask yourself:
1. What matters most right now?
2. What is important to me and what might be missing in my life?
3. What does it mean to have a meaningful life?
How do you live in alignment with what you value? Knowing our personal values is one thing but living in alignment with them is ideal for feeling good about the life you are living. Learning what our values are can help us make better life decisions. Have you ever made a decision that just did not sit right? It may have been because you did not make the decision based on what truly mattered the most to you. Have you ever spent time doing something on your day off that left you feeling depleted, regretful or frustrated? That may be a cue for being out of alignment with not spending time based on what you value. Living in alignment with what you value requires effort and attention. Many of you may feel pressured to make decisions based on what society says is important or what our family displayed as important growing up. Living life in alignment with our authentic values is not an easy task. Not everyone has the same set of personal values so they may not understand or like how we choose to live our life. However, that does not mean it is wrong or bad. We all fall out of alignment with our values from time to time but if you listen to your body and emotions, they will let you know when something does not feel right.
We may not be able to live in alignment with our values every second of the day. Living by our personal values will not take all the pain away but it will bring more opportunities in your life to feel a greater sense of purpose, satisfaction, and clarity. If you are due for an alignment, I challenge you to identify what matters to you the most right now and find opportunities to live by those values. We all deserve a meaningful life. Remember, that means you too.
By: Marie Clifton
LCSW, LSCSW, CAGCS