V is for Value

Value is defined as holding something in high regard.

It’s about what you consider to be important and this helps to shape the way you live you life.

Our personal values are exactly that; ours. It’s likely the experience you had growing up defined what’s important for you, but as you age and go through life, you may have a greater chance of defining what you consider important for yourself.

To be clear on what you value is significant because that can determine the story you tell yourself and direct your life in the way you want it to go in.

What I valued at 18 looked somewhat different to what I valued at 21 and has since changed now that I’m in my late twenties.

This post will talk about what I value, why I do and how I try to live in line with my values on a daily basis.

Disclaimer: I don’t call these things values anymore, I’ve renamed them as my five personal pillars and they help to direct my decision making. These pillars are also in an order that makes the most sense for me.

  1. Presence

The present moment is the only time that exists, as I often say, the past is gone, the future is yet to come, and the present moment is the only moment we can truly operate from.

To be present, is to be in tune with life. It’s about paying attention to the moment whilst in the moment, and by doing so we can get the most from our experience.

Being present is noticing what is always there and not missing the subtleties of life. It’s about catching yourself when in autopilot mode, knowing how to pause and bring yourself back into the here and now.

I won’t pretend, as much as I know the significance of living my life as it unfolds, I do find myself dwelling on a past that cannot be changed or anticipating a future that is yet to exist.

So to help myself I have to practice being present, by:

  • Meditating
  • Tapping into my senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)
  • Breathing techniques
  • Slowing down

2. Awareness

Awareness is about being awake to the life that I am living.

Similarly to being present, awareness is paying attention to my experience; that is catching myself if I am ruminating about that past situation or allowing my future thinking to consume me.

When you are aware I believe you are in a better position to make change.

Awareness also brings choice. When you become aware of something you now have the ability to move in whatever direction you wish. Whereas being in the dark firstly means you don’t even know a change may be needed and secondly, whether solutions are even available to you.

In practical terms, I try to be aware by:

  • Learning from other people’s perspectives
  • Asking myself questions to help with self-examination such as, what is in front of me that I cannot see?
  • Journaling to gain insight on my internal experience
  • Being in silence

3. Clarity

This is about seeing things for what they are and not what I wished or imagined them to be.

Clarity is being aware of the beliefs, assumptions, biases, prejudices and anything else that has created the lens I currently view life through and clouds my judgement.

Clarity is knowing that what I deem to be true may not be the truth.

Clarity is knowing who I am when no one is looking.

Clarity is what is.

I strive to gain clarity by:

  • Asking questions
  • Writing things down
  • Having a conversation with myself as well as others
  • Taking time to reflect

4. Choice

We can’t always choose what happens to us but we can always choose how we respond.

I’m fortunate enough to have an abundance of choices available to me, from the moment I wake up until the time I go to sleep.

“The choice is always mine” is displayed on my wardrobe, to help remind myself that no matter what, I can choose.

I’m grateful for the choices made by my parents and the choices I’ve made so far. I believe that every choice has an effect on the next and have all played a part in the version of me today.

I choose how and where I want to spend my time and I cannot take that kind of freedom for granted.

How I think about choice in action:

  • Being patient with myself when making decisions
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Reflecting on my life generally

5. Peace of Mind

Peace of mind trumps all.

Peace is my priority.

When I’m at peace I know whatever I decided was right for me in that moment.

A good friend once told me that he did not want to live his life with any regret. I remember thinking how great that was. To know, no matter the outcome, it is what it is.

If something is rattling me (on my mind) I have to address it, otherwise it will disrupt my being and I’ve decided that nothing costs more than my peace.

I know I’m at peace when I’m not second guessing myself or my body feels physically calm.

Peace is significant because I am a better person when I feel peaceful, I’m more able to pay attention which allows me to get on with tasks more easily, I am more present with others and I feel more in tune with myself.

Practicing peace at the start of the day helps to set tune for the remainder of it.

To be peaceful in practice, I:

  • Spend time alone
  • Journal – I write “peace is the priority” as the title on all my journal entries
  • I set boundaries to protect my peace

I hope reading about my five personal pillars has given you an insight into why they are important for me and how I bring them into my life. These are not the only things I value but I wanted to focus on how they influence my daily decision making and therefore the life I’m currently living.

As with everything on this blog, it’s about finding what works best for you and seeing how you can become clear on the things you stand by, why you consider them to be important and the actionable steps you can take in order to live your life in line with what you value.

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