How often do you take the time to sit with yourself and take stock of where you are in life, and assess if you are on track with your life goals? Im curious, because I am wired for planning and the need to measure myself against targets ( I admit that’s not necessarily healthy), so I have a tendency to do it twice a year at least for big picture goals, and then monthly, and even weekly for the smaller stuff.
Until recently, I had never considered whether my plans were in tune with my core values and dreams, and was struck with the realization that I had built a life largely around other peoples dreams and expectations, and that luckily, I had gravitated, probably by instinct and gut feel, towards people and life events that were meaningful to me.
It’s very odd to me, that as someone who likes to steer the ship, I took only a cursory glance at the map, and let the current take me along. I floated through years of post-secondary education because that is what was expected and luckily, gravitated towards an area of study that resonated with my values and natural abilities. I did not have a piece of paper with career goals spelled out, or the words marriage and family by age 30 anywhere, but that’s where I landed.
Inevitably, the day comes when we become aware of the connection between our inner being and the life that we have put together. For the lucky ones, the alignment is perfectly in tune and harmonious. For many, there’s a sense of unfinished business and urgency. An inner conflict occurs if we haven’t taken the time to clarify our values.
Pursuing other peoples dreams will set us in a million different directions. Being clear on what we actually want gives us control of our life again. That’s where core values come in.
Your core values shape who you are. They’re the ground you stand on, to build a sense of self. Core values point the needle of your compass, aligning your true self with the actions you take and what you create for yourself.
Instead of allowing outside influences like media, pop culture, or social environment to shape your life, you can be true to yourself. Your recipe for happiness will not look the same as someone else’s. You may consider family, service, and community the most important parts of your life. Someone else may prioritize things like freedom, adventure, and spirituality.
This week might be a good time for personal reflection. Below are some questions to help you start this exploration. The answers you write down are clues you can use to identify your core value system.
- Who do you admire? What is it about them that inspires you ( the admirable qualities they possess or the behaviors and actions you would like to emulate)
- When do you feel most like yourself? Look at situations that make you feel good about yourself, or bad and uncomfortable. Who are you with, what feelings are triggered? what these experiences bring/cost you emotionally or physically
- What inspires you to take action? That time you were motivated you to speak up or act -what you were willing to risk in that situation and what were the results of taking action ? What was gained/lost?
With a firm sense of self, you can find inspiration from others, and still stick to your core. Outside influences no longer pull you in every direction. You recognize the difference between what truly matters to you. You know when to say “yes” and when to walk away.
Today’s journaling prompt: When do I most feel in tune with myself?
Intention for today’s meditation: May I remember my true nature.