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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Perry

Are you living within your values?

We tend to operate from value systems whether we are conscious of them or not, and they influence our happiness and contentment in life. It's fair to say that our value systems are (sometimes and oftentimes) established by others and we might be heavily influenced by them without giving our values as much thought as they deserve. Understanding our own values is crucial in helping you make important decisions about your life. Think about jobs/career, intimate relationships, friendships, health, finances, family structure, politics; these are aspects of our lives that can reflect our value systems. We want our values to align with our authenticity because when we operate from our values, we feel more at ease, have a stronger sense of self, and increase our own self esteem! So why not take some time to think about yourself and update your values to reflect who you are today?

Here are some steps to help guide this process:


Set aside time for introspection. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can think without distractions.

  • Ask yourself open-ended questions, such as "What is truly important to me in life?" and "What do I want to prioritize?"

  • Consider your past experiences and how they have shaped your beliefs and priorities.

Identify Key Life Experiences:

  • Think about the moments in your life when you felt most fulfilled, proud, or happy. What was happening during those times? What values were you honoring?

  • Conversely, think about times when you felt uncomfortable, unfulfilled, or dissatisfied. What values were being compromised or ignored?

Create a Values List:

  • Write down a list of values that resonate with you. Common values include honesty, family, health, freedom, creativity, spirituality, kindness, and many others.

Below is a more extensive list (yet, it’s still not an exhaustive list) of other values for your reflection. Don't get overwhelmed with this list, add to it, subtract from it, it's just for fun, personal growth, and to get the juices flowing:

  • Authenticity

  • Achievement

  • Adventure

  • Authority

  • Autonomy

  • Balance

  • Beauty

  • Boldness

  • Compassion

  • Communication

  • Challenge

  • Community

  • Competency

  • Contribution

  • Creativity

  • Curiosity

  • Determination

  • Equity

  • Faith

  • Friendships

  • Fun

  • Growth

  • Happiness

  • Honesty

  • Humor

  • Influence

  • Justice

  • Kindness

  • Knowledge

  • Leadership

  • Learning

  • Love

  • Loyalty

  • Meaningful Work

  • Openness

  • Optimism

  • Peace

  • Pleasure

  • Poise

  • Popularity

  • Recognition

  • Reputation

  • Respect

  • Responsibility

  • Security

  • Sense of safety

  • Self-Respect

  • Service

  • Spirituality

  • Stability

  • Success

  • Status

  • Trustworthiness

  • Transparency

  • Volunteering

  • Wealth

  • Wisdom

Prioritize Your Values:

  • Review your list of values and consider which ones are most important to you. Try to narrow the list down to your top 5-10 core values.

  • You might find it helpful to compare values and rank them in order of importance.

Test Your Values:

  • Your values are not set in stone and may change over time. Test your values by considering how they align with your current actions and choices.

  • Ask yourself whether your daily life reflects your identified values. If not, it might be time to reevaluate or make adjustments.

Seek Feedback:

  • Talk to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist about your values. They may offer insights into your values based on their observations of your behavior and choices.

Visualize Your Ideal Life:

  • Imagine your ideal life and what it looks like. What values are at the core of this vision? This can provide clarity on what matters most to you.


  • Keep a values journal where you record your thoughts and experiences related to your values. Write about moments when your values were tested or when you had to make difficult decisions.

Read and Learn:

  • Read books, articles, and biographies of people you admire. Learning about the values and principles of others can help you reflect on your own values.

Seek Professional Help:

  • If you're struggling to identify your values or want more guidance, consider seeking the assistance of a therapist or counselor who can help you explore your values in greater depth.

Our values can change over time due to personal growth, life experiences, and shifting priorities. It may feel important to periodically revisit your values to ensure they still resonate with who you are today.

Have fun with it!

And always, take good care!


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