With you on your wondering way...

Values Work: Creating Your Own Cornerstones

Spending time reflecting will look different for all of us. I find looking at art in books or from galleries I’ve visited calms my mind and allows space to reflect. This beauty is from the York Gallery Collection.

After a week of reflection I’ve come to the conclusion that the change that needs to happen within me has to be anchored in me. If I want to seed change outwardly and be part of a movement of change it must first start at home.

This is where working with our core values comes in. Living in accordance with our values can help us find a way to living authentically and feeling justified in our decisions by surrounding ourselves by what matters most to us. Values can act as anchors that we can draw strength from when we are in need of stabilising.

One of the ways that we can unearth our values is by finding key words that speak to you and then create your own definition for your values. So grab a note book and a pen and have a little go at this exercise to see if you can come closer to naming your own values:

Firstly, think about a time in your life when things where flowing and you felt a sense of contentment? What about these moments felt important to you, write down any words that might come to mind that can express this: e.g family, community, relaxation etc.

Then think of a time when you felt sad or frustrated? How where you being compromised then? What needs were not being met?

See if you can pin point any potential values from reflecting on these times in your life.

Sometimes looking at a list of values and using your intuition to instinctively hone in can help. For example, in a list of potential values would you be able to pick out 3 -5 words that really stand out to you. Jot down on your piece of paper any values from the list below that you’re drawn to:

Freedom, creativity,
connection, adventure,
independence, friendship,
laughter, truth,
joy, nature,
dance, community,
faith, home,
authenticity, activity,
learning, togetherness,
compassion, kindness,
integrity, self respect,
love, trust,
wealth, happiness,
wisdom, vitality,
comfort, desire,
grace, fairness,
strength, softness,
justice, presence,
health, honesty,
stability, discipline,
harmony, diversity,
order, tradition,
flexibility, courage etc.
(Google ‘Core Values List’ for more inspiration)

Once you’ve been able to identify some of your core values (3 -5 words could be a nice number to start with) you can start creating your individual definition for your values. This will help you explore why this word might hold meaning for you.

For example, one of my values is ‘Home’ my definition of this value is: ‘To be a base for good things to grow, to nurture community and a more inclusive culture. To offer hospitality to others; A Home that welcomes in.’

This is the value that I came back to last week when I was feeling on shaky ground. It helped to steady me and to affirm that engaging with BLM is in line with my values and is something I’m committed to. It might be uncomfortable, but sitting with that discomfort will hopefully enable me to ultimately live more in line with my values.

Knowing your values can help you cross life’s bridges and feel more sure-footed.

I keep my list of values close by in my journal and in the notes of my phone so that when I’m faced with a difficult decisions or am feeling challenged I can come back to my roots and try to forge a path that feels authentic and real for me. I believe this is particularly important when as a society we are being challenged to open our eyes to experiences we have been blind to. Social media can be incredibly loud sometimes, I believe that finding time to reflect and build emotional cornerstones will help ground us to make decisions that are in line with ourselves and that we can have a sense of ownership over.