Your values are everything.
Whether you are consciously aware of your core values or not, they are determining everything in your life. Our values inform our decisions, our goals and our happiness. Often when we are unfulfilled or unhappy in life, it's because our core values are not in line with our current situation. Knowing your core values and the values of those around you, can seriously help you navigate life.
If you don't know your values, I highly suggest figuring that out. For some people this will be more difficult! For me, I was able to write down my 3 core values without giving them a second thought. Although, I did slightly test them to ensure they were correct. If you're not sure at all where to begin, there are plenty of lists of values online that might help you. Values can be anything; trust, service, movement, travel, stability, career, family etc.
For me, my top core values are:
These may sound a bit dry at first. For me, a growth mindset is an extremely important value. It's all about having a particular mindset that focuses on growing into the best version of yourself. Because if I'm not striving to reach my full potential, then what's the point? Next, effective communication is such a big part of what I'm about. I get extremely frustrated when I or another communicates ineffectively! The way I communicate with myself and others plays a huge role in my life. Lastly, self expression is a guiding force in my existence. Which should be pretty obvious if you know me personally. Creating art is a big way that I align my life with this value!
As I'm generally a very self aware person, these values were very obvious to me. My life essentially evolves around these three things. When I'm at the gym, cooking a new recipe, researching painting techniques, listening to podcasts, reading a book - my growth mindset is urging me to be my best. It sounds cheesy, but it feels good! Plus who doesn't love cheese. When I'm getting dressed, dying my hair, posting a photo online, commenting on a post, letting someone know my opinion, that's my self expression kicking in. And of course when I'm explaining my feelings to my partner, discussing a friend's behaviour, listening to a colleague or emailing a customer - effective communication is always on my mind.
Every situation throughout my day would be completely different if my values changed.
Let's say these were my values:
If I spent a day living by these core values, gosh how much it would change! I'd have to cease my life as an artist, get a full time job and stop wasting money on a gym membership when I should be saving to buy a house and/or go overseas. Now, there's nothing wrong with that! Everyone's values will be totally different.
You might find that your partner or closest friend has very similar core values to you. Even if your personalities and lives seem dissimilar, you might be surprised to find your values closely align. So not only will figuring out your core values help you, figuring out the values of those around you will be awesome. Some people truly value financial acquisition way higher than I could imagine. Some people value being comfortable. Some people value trust. One way to test your values is to put one against the other. FIGHT! And see who comes out on top.
For instance, do you think you value honesty over stability? Put them in the ring together... If you aren't happy with a friends behaviour, and have to tell them even though it will rock the boat - you value honesty higher. If you just keep your thoughts to yourself, you might value stability higher. See what I mean?
Decision making is hugely determined by our values. Often when resigning from or applying for jobs this is largely at play. When I left my career in advertising, it's because I was no longer growing and there was no room for self expression. Made that choice for obvious for me. Difficult, but obvious. When I left my job at an art gallery, it's because my boss was lying to me about various things and not communicating effectively whatsoever. When me and my partner rented a house together, we prioritised having a room each so that we could have our own personal studio spaces. Self expression and growth mindset both influenced that decision, and we effectively communicate our needs.
So there you have it, check in with yourself and see if your values are aligning with how you're currently living your life. It may surprise you!