What do I Truly Want?
When was the last time you asked yourself that question? Do you know the answer?
We get busy. We get lost. We get jaded. And, somewhere along the way we no longer remember what it was like to feel inspired.
To be on fire.
Why? You’re not entirely sure. All you know is that it’s time to wake up. Shift. Come back home to what truly matters.
But there is a path back to your true self: Your values.
Yes, embarking on the journey back to ourselves requires identifying and honoring our values.
It’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters, what is not always easy is to realize what happened that you feel this way.
For example, when external achievements don’t align with our authentic selves, they leave us feeling unfulfilled. Many clients come to me in this space, having attained external success but sensing an internal void.
I recall a client who, despite having a loving partner, three beautiful kids, and a luxurious home, felt that something was missing. Something important.
She grappled with a constant need to please everyone, an overwhelming sense of anxiety, and a pervasive feeling of inadequacy. There was a disconnection between her actions and her true desires that was not evident at the moment. Just a sense of internal void.
To me, the path back to self-connection and genuine happiness starts by asking yourself a simple but powerful question:
“What do I truly want in life?”
I crafted this post now because, as the year comes to a close, it feels like the perfect timing to reflect on what brings you true happiness.
Today, we’ll talk about how to identify your values.
Let’s define “Values”
Values are the intangible elements that shape our lives, bringing happiness, fulfillment, and richness to our day to day.
Values define who we are at our core and represent what we consider essential, meaningful, and worthwhile.
They influence your thoughts, actions, and reactions.
They’re not dictated by external factors or societal norms but are intrinsic to your being. These values manifest in various aspects of life, influencing how you interact with others, the decisions you make, and the goals you chase every day.
Diversity of Values
Values may include integrity, compassion, growth, family, adventure, creativity, authenticity, and many others. What’s crucial is that values are highly personal.
Your values are unique, they evolve with your own experiences and insights.
Values are Not Set in Stone
While values serve as a foundational aspect of our identity, they can actually evolve as we grow and gain new perspectives.
Reevaluating and reaffirming our values is a natural part of our personal development.
It’s like having a roadmap to navigate life’s labyrinthine paths. It’s more than just a self-reflection exercise; it’s a cornerstone for personal growth and fulfillment.
Understanding your values is a key element in creating a life that feels authentic and aligned with your true self, a life with self-awareness, clarity in your decision-making, healthier relationships and better communications.
Everyday life and the many external influences can easily make us lose sight of the path defined by our values.
For example, how society slowly reshapes your perception of things like success or happiness with everyday messages that conflict with your values, the distractions of your busy life, the adoption of external goals and even the fear of rejection or being judged by others.
Without consciously reflecting on your beliefs and priorities, you might unintentionally misalign with your values
By acknowledging these disconnects, you can rediscover and live in alignment with what truly matters to us.
How did you end up in Austria? 🤔
Did you know that Austria’s airport has a dedicated desk to help people that were supposed to go to AustrALIA?
Really? There are 8,828 miles between them.
Okay, okay… Horrible but honest mistake.
But you can’t just stay in Austria now, right?
The same thing happens with your values, the worst case scenario will be that somewhere along the way you borrowed/adopted someone else’s values and ended up at the wrong destination, after all the work that took you to get there.
The result of living by someone else’s values or chasing the wrong goal is the sense of an unfulfilled life.
It’s not a lack of purpose. It’s just the wrong purpose.
The Journey Back (How to Identify Your Values)
Yes, there is a way back to rediscover and realign with your values for that purposeful and fulfilling life.
The process might need a little introspection and, if you need a little help getting started, a good reflective exercise can help get on your way.
One of my favorites is “My Last Day on Earth”
It goes a little like this… (full instructions in the download below).
Imagine your last day on earth. Reeaally try to visualize this scenario vividly, engaging your senses and emotions.
(I know this process can be a little uncomfortable and maybe some strong emotions are going to show up, stay with it, emotions are not good or bad they show up to show the way to what truly matters in your life. Trust the process.)
Then you’ll answer a few questions such as what activities would you engage in? Who would you spend time with? What thoughts and emotions would dominate your mind?
Once you have your values lined up, write a message to yourself about how you can turn each value into action. For example, if one of your values is “connection” you might want to dedicate some time every week to talk to old friends.
This exercise provides a powerful insight into what truly matters to you when time becomes finite.
Download PDF Exercise here:
By the way, this and other related exercises are included in my 7 Journaling Prompts to Unleash Your Authentic Self, join my email list to get it today for free.
Identify Behaviors Aligned with Your Values
There is still one more thing we need to connect here…
The point of identifying your values is that you can live a life aligned with your authentic self. So, how do we connect those values to our day to day life?
Daily actions and decisions.
Which behaviors are aligned with your values?
Look for patterns in your actions that reflect your beliefs and priorities. Add, adjust or eliminate those actions.
This takes practice, but eventually you’ll be able to perform a quick check-up with your values, before reacting or making any decision.
It’s time to start honoring these values because, if not now, then when? Let’s welcome 2024 by prioritizing the things that genuinely matter in our lives. ✨
Image Credit: cottonbro studio