Monday 30 April 2012

The value of values

My last post asked the question, who are you? as well as the question what do you do?

These are two questions I've been asked myself a lot recently as I've been meeting new people and I've experimented a bit with my answers ranging from the fairly boring name and job response to the more esoteric or existential (wanky) response.

And what I've noticed is that it doesn't really matter what you say. What matters is that it's authentic. And what lies behind authenticity is that who you are and what you do are in some way aligned. And for that to happen depends on your values.

I realised that knowing our values is really really crucial to both who we are and what we do.

If we don't really know who we are, we can't really be sure of our values in life. And if we don't know our values in life, how on earth can we decide what we're going to do? Or what we're supposed to be doing?

I would be willing to bet that if we rounded up all the people who feel in some way dissatisfied with life, or unhappy in their job, or in some way out of kilter with those around them it will be because they haven't consciously identified their values, and if they were to identify their values they would find them at odds with what it is they've ended up doing.

I'm also willing to bet that if we rounded up all the people who felt uncomfortable about their behaviour in some way or on some particular occasion and we examined what happened and why, we'd find the same thing. That they were behaving in a way out of line with their values.

I can say this quite confidently because I can recognise it in myself and have observed it in others. You'll  be able to too.  You know those times somebody does something really cringey or embarrassing, something that makes the room feel really awkward and uncomfortable? That's somebody not being authentic to themselves or their values. I bet.

I think that in order for us to feel really at peace and comfortable and energised by what we work, home or at has to be aligned with our values. Who we are, what we believe in, how we behave, what we do and even the language we use need to match up for us to feel as good as we can feel, and to come across as the best, authentic versions of ourselves. To truly be ourselves.

So what are your values? are you living and behaving in accordance with them? Do you really know? Have you ever even considered it before?

It sounds a bit lofty doesn't it? A bit too hard? But it's easy really. Ask yourself, what is it that's going well for you at the moment? What would you like to do more of?  Then think about why you gave the answers you gave, what's significant about them for'll find your values somewhere in there if you look properly.

I have a confession. I haven't entirely worked this out for myself yet. Specifically. (Thank goodness really, it'd be a pretty boring blog about self discovery and my quest for happiness if I already had all the answers wouldn't it!). But I know roughly where I'm headed and I know when I've gone wrong because it feels horrible. I'm going to have a good old think about this properly though and it'd be great if you'd join me and share your thoughts below.

and we'll know if you're not being authentic!

thanks x


  1. In terms of authenticity, is it ever possible to be "100% authentic" by holding oneself to idealistic values? Surely, it is the mistakes, the cringeworthy moments and the 'oh my god, i can't believe I just did that - what an idiot' realisations that actually make someone who they are. And therefore, by that reckoning, people may have values and morals and ethics and all of that, that one hopes they live by, but actually, because no one's perfect, it's actually the mistakes that make people authentic and genuine, no matter how embarrassing those mistakes are?

  2. hi there,thanks very much for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree with that, absolutely. I'm talking about a different type of awkward moment I think. The ones where we let our guard down and are just being well and truly us, definitely that's what makes us so authentic and genuine...but I don't think I find those moments cringey as such as they are so genuine. I think we can tell when it's all got a bit uncomfortable because somebody isn't being genuine. When they're trying to be something they're not.
    I don't think I'm talking about holding oneself to idealistic values..if we're having to 'hold ourselves' to something then they're probably not our values in the first place.
    What I'm talking about is working out who we truly are and being true to that warts and all (including embarrassing moments) as opposed to maybe ending up moulding or squishing ourselves into whatever role or behaviour we think suits the position we're in or the people we're with, for example. All I mean is that if what we do and what we believe are out of sync, we won't feel totally comfortable and we probably wont know why everything feels a bit out of synch. If that's the case we need to look back at what we believe in and see if there are any mismatches. For example, I believe in being compassionate and open and kind and non-judging to everybody I meet. But I'm not a saint and was a right little madam as a teenager, and beyond. So at times I say or think something totally uncharitable out of habit. And the instant it happens, I feel totally uncomfortable, not in a charming oh look at me being silly way, in a way that feels as if I have done or said something that goes against what I believe in deep down. Hope that makes sense, its just my view and is one of the things I've considered as part of my whole journey to get to know myself a bit better and work out what it is that makes me tick, it doesn't have to ring true for everybody


please do join in the makes me happy!