My Personal Values and Beliefs
For me, understanding your values is one of the most important aspects of personal growth, they open the doorway to more calmness, self respect and they help you to let go of old outdated beliefs which may be disrupting your present life.
Personally, my values are transient and variable, some values are really core to me and they define who I am, whilst others may rise and fall in importance dependent on my needs and focus in life. I know that these values are a only a guide, yet they help me to make decisions, avoid emotional discomfort and give my life more direction. I find it interesting to observe how much my values have changed over the last years, at the bottom of this page are my values from 2005.
My values and beliefs January 2012
This has been one of my core values for a long time is still a fundamental to the way I want to live my life. Calmness gives me choice in any moment and keeps my body from becoming loaded with anxiety and stress chemicals. I know that my body responds to my thoughts, therefore I will focus on gentle calm thoughts even when faced with full on external influences.
To be loving:
My ultimate goal is working towards becoming unconditionally loving (that’s a tough one, however, I am getting there) for now, I am content with “being loving” towards others AND MYSELF. To me, this means not judging others and just accepting them the way they are – accepting myself the way I am. This does not mean being foolish or foolhardy and sometimes I will need to put in place boundaries that will protect me (and them). On the whole I want to be accepting, non-judgemental, trusting and loving in a way that allows me to be with any person, yet not get hooked by their emotional problems or rigid points of view.
The Four Agreements – This book Don Miguel Ruiz has made a lot of sense to me over the last 5 years and these 4 values have become a large corner stone of who I am. I will continue to expand the use of these values.
To be impeccable with my word:
To speak with honesty and with integrity. To say what I mean and avoid detrimental or negative judgemental language against myself or others and use the power of my word in the direction of genuineness and love.
To not take anything personally:
Nothing others do is because of me. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream, their own issues, needs and insecurities – what they say is not personal, hardly at all. This has been one of the biggest revelations to me over the last few years, and the more I recognise this, the more I see it to be true – I can see clearly that this one of the most frequent traps that people (emotionally) fall into, and I don’t want to play that game any more. Just acknowledging this one perspective has (and keeps on) providing so much emotional freedom.
To not make assumptions:
I will find the courage to ask questions and to express what I really want in any moment. I will communicate with others as clearly as I can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. I won’t guess (or assume I know) what others are thinking or feeling, how could I possibly know? We are all different.
To always do my best – given what my best is that day:
My best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when I am healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, I will simply do my best, and I will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
Does my path have a heart?
This passage from Carlos Castaneda sums up neatly the journey I am doing my best to travel:
“You must always keep in mind that a path is only a path. Each path is only one of a million paths. If you feel that you must now follow it, you need not stay with it under any circumstances. Any path is only a path. There is no affront to yourself or others in dropping a path if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on a path or to leave it must be free of fear and ambition. I caution you: look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone this one question. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same. They lead nowhere. They are paths going through the brush or into the brush or under the brush of the Universe. The only question is: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then it is a good path. If it doesn’t, then it is of no use.”
Acceptance and respect:
People are just the way they are, and they are each perfect. To not accept and respect them as they are, is in effect saying “you are wrong, you don’t know what to do” – this is not accepting and respectful, in fact, it is quite unaccepting and unrespectful. I will accept and respect people just the way they are.
It took me a long time to understand and realise that emotions are my friend (good and bad) and that emotions are something that we control rather than something that ‘happens’ to us. I will be conscious of my emotions and continue to hone my emotional flexibility skills. I want to be able to feel all emotions fully and to embrace them, it is clear to me now that in the past I used to try and selectively numb emotions, now I see that there is no point trying to numb anger or frustration or embarrassment – because when you numb one emotion you also numb other emotions like love, joy, fun. I will continue to focus my skills on being able to change an emotion within a few seconds – so I can go from frustration to calmness in a moment and at at my will.
It seems to me that my body responds to “what I hold in mind. If I have calm or good thoughts I get calm or good feelings and if I have worrisome thoughts I get less good feelings, seems obvious what I should do! I have seen from spending a lot of time with people who have anxiety that the one thing they all have in common is a racing mind and continuous “what if” stories running around in their mind, that cause their body to receive anxious feelings. I don’t need to run thoughts around and around my mind when making decisions, I will trust my feelings, instinct and emotions much more and align my decisions with these values. Practicing to keep my mind as silent as possible is very important to me as it keeps my body really calm and my immune system is under less pressure. The voices in my head are not ME, they are just echoes from the past and old fears and insecurities, I don’t need to believe them or reply to them.
To be caring without being emotionally hooked:
In the past it was easy for me to become embroiled in other peoples despair or emotional suffering, I have learned that this does not help me or them. Using the skills I have learned I can now be a caring person and help people where appropriate, yet, not get hooked by their emotional trauma. They are adults, they have their own life (I accept and respect them) however, I am not responsible for their emotional pain and how they choose to express it – I can care but not care, meaning “I am there for you, however, you are not going to impact emotionally.” I need all my own energy to live my own life.
I will be flexible with my point of view:
In all the activities and aspects of my life I will take time to gently look at my life from other vantage points to see if there are other ways of being, thinking, doing that will enhance the quality of my life. Personal and spiritual growth are important to me so I will continue to learn and read and try new things.
To use power rather than force:
This is hard to put into words – essentially it is about aligning myself with things that make me strong and avoiding things that make me feel weak. Arguments require a lot of force (to make people agree with you) and leave you feeling weak, whereas, accepting others and humility take almost no effort and leave you feeling energised. Power is about influence and it hardly needs any energy, whereas, force requires people, money, activity to force things to happen. Power does not focus on the outcome it focuses on the journey, whereas, force is focused only on the outcome.
I can love and respect myself and I can love and respect others despite differing opinions, cultures or points of view, I recognise that I live in my dream bubble and they live in their dream bubble and we are both right when observed from that perspective. Humility allows me to refrain from needing to control people, or point out their flaws, they are competent to live their own lives and experience the consequences of their decisions and actions.
Being spiritual is one thing… However, being a Spiritual Warrior takes a lot of vigilance and I am prepared to be vigilant, even ruthless, to follow my dreams and ensure my path has a heart, and that my emotional energy is not leeched out of me by people, organisations, the media and those who try to manipulate life. Being loving and caring does not mean putting myself down or suppressing my own happiness. Living with humility does not mean letting people walk all over me – no way. I will be vigilant about my health, my dreams, my work, my relationships and my emotional flexibility.
My previous values and beliefs from 2005
I want a powerful sense of ease and calmness inside myself. A tranquillity that stops me from feeling stressed and allows me to be more objective in the decisions that I make. Perhaps I can begin some form of light meditation or, at least, take time each day to relax, plan and reflect upon the issues of the day.
To do all the things that I want to do, and to be there for those who are close to me, I have to be fit and healthy; therefore, I will look to take more exercise and continue to restrict the amount of refined sugars that I consume. I believe that this will help boost immune system and help generate more positive feelings in my mind.
To make all the changes I want in my life I must re-evaluate myself, my thoughts and my actions and adopt new ways of being and thinking that will allow me to move forward. It’s one thing to read about change and another to actually do it – I am going to do it.
It’s time to start loving myself; I know that others love me so it is not a large step to take to accept that I can love me too. If I don’t love myself how can I truly love them back?
Making a Difference:
This is an old value that has been redefine, in the past I wanted to be seen to have made a difference (by others) I now want to feel (in myself) that I have made a difference in the things that I do. These actions will be fully in-line with my values and congruent with myself.
Congruency and Honesty:
These are the core values that define who I am – in the past I occasionally struggled with the need to please other people and this sometimes led to me doing things that I did not necessarily believe in, this setup an inner conflict in myself. From now on congruency will be a driving factor in my life – if I do not believe in it then I will not do it and I will feel free to speak my mind politely and eloquently – however, it is important that I still remain open-minded to make sure that I know all the facts beforehand and my response is delivered with empathy.
Courage & confidence:
In the past these are values that I could intermittently turn on and off – From now on they will be core to by value set. I do have the courage and confidence to try new things, stand my ground, and achieve all I set out to achieve. I am a very resourceful and intelligent person with lots of experience in many differing fields – there is nothing to stop me doing anything that I want to do. As I define more clear goals confidence and courage will steer me towards achieving them.
Win / Win:
It is important to me that any transactions in my life are fair and ensure that each party gets what they need. This ranges from a big business deal down to an agreement with my children.
Desire and Determination:
As I set new goals in my life, I will look for paths to follow that inspire me and where I can see myself making a difference. I want to feel the desire to do those things and approach each one with utter determination.
I recognise that I have to become more open with my emotions and share my thoughts and feelings with those I love. I can see that what I thought was ‘protecting them’ is in fact locking them out and that’s not fair. How can they help me if they don’t know how I feel?
The time is right for me to look at events in my life with a new positivity, if nothing else it will make a change from all the negativity of recent months. I am not going to listen to negative people anymore and begin to look for the opportunities in every experience. By having congruency as one of my values – I will approach everything that I do with positivity or I won’t do it.
I am as good as anyone and better than some – time to accept that, what I don’t know I can learn and I will try new things as I am looking for new more positive feelings.
This is one aspect of my life that up until now I have taken for granted, I am a very resourceful person; I have a huge number of ideas and can turn my hand to most things – so I will.
Help to define your values and beliefs
I have documented the process I used to capture and define my values, it may be of use to you too.