So in the previous post, we spoke about defining our personal values so today we’re going to delve deeper into the topic. To figure out our personal values we need to answer the cliched question of who we were before the world told us who we should be? And that’s not easy. It requires taking a very deep look into our lives, rummaging through the closets in search of any hidden skeletons, opening doors we’d rather pretend they never existed. We’d need to look deep and search for two things in particular; the crossroads and the non-negotiables.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost Tweet this
The crossroads are those life-altering moments where we chose one road instead of another. While there might be many crossroads in our lives-and some might be major mistakes we wish we could undo-there are others that felt right the moment we were taking that first step. Maybe society tried to tell us we were crazy to make the choice we did, and yet we knew deep in our hearts it was the right choice, and eventually things turned out all right. So look at those moments and try to unearth the values driving those decisions.
These are the little rules and regulations we’ve set for ourselves in our work, life, relationships…While some of them might be inherited from society and need to be modified or upgraded, there are some that resonate with our very cores. d regulations. We might not have explicitly written them down, but we have them lying somewhere in the back of our minds.
Maybe they sound something like,
“People come before things.”
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
And most importantly, “Thou shall eat a banana every day of your life.”
The non-negotiables usually direct you towards the values you most likely embody, and if they don’t – like the banana one – maybe they need to be removed from the list.
Some people might want to do this hunting-for-personal-values with a friend or a family member, and that’s actually good as it helps create harmony between friends and family. However a couple of things that need to be noted are:
1) Your personal values must be yours, not theirs. Don’t put something on your list just because it’s on theirs. Also back every value with a personal story to show it’s something you care about.
2) Because it’s deeply personal, and it might require you to open up the deepest part of your soul, and be vulnerable with somebody else, don’t just trust anybody with this exercise. As Brene Brown advises, “Only share your stories with the people who earned the right to listen to them.”
I remember when I first heard that line, it baffled me. I wondered, “How does somebody earn the right to listen to your stories?”
After perusing a lot of Brene’s work, I came to realize the answer is simply, “Look at how they react to your not-so-important stories at first. If they react with judgement, sarcasm and apathy, then they probably do not deserve to listen to your deeper stories. The reaction you’re looking for from others is usually empathy; someone telling you, I have been in your shoes – or I can imaging being in your shoes – and I totally understand.”
Then there are others who might do this exercise alone using the writer’s best friend and worse enemy; a blank page. You might start unearthing your values using prompts such as answering the following questions:
- What did you enjoy doing as a child?
- Describe a person you really admire. Why do you admire them? What qualities do they exhibit?
- If you went to Hogwarts, which house would you have found yourself in and why? Alternatively, if you were in the fictional world of Divergent, which faction would you have been in?
Whether you’re doing this exercise alone or with a friend, the steps are simple;
- List down your value – e.g. kindness
- Explain why it’s important for you –e.g if people were more kind, the world would be a better place so I want to start with myself
- Back it up with experiences from your life that show you embodying the value – e.g. the last time I showed kindness was when I helped that person with something
- Brainstorm ways of exercising the value everyday – e.g. get ideas of doing kindness from websites like randomactsofkindness.org
Feel free to share your personal values in the comments section below. Like this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook
Original post appeared on http://ahscribbles.com/unearthing-your-values/
Quotes image: quotesgram.com
When it comes to personal development, the main goal is not always to be better than the person next door — though that’s not always so bad. The main goal is to become better than we were yesterday, and in order to do that, we need to know where we were yesterday and where we stand today. Conducting a monthly or quarterly SWOT analysis of our life is always a good idea, because whether we decide to change ourselves or not, things change around us.
Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different”-C.S. Lewis Tweet this
In business terms, a SWOT analysis is when we measure our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. To apply it to our own life, we need to ask the following questions:
1.What are our personal strengths/weaknesses?
It’s not always easy to find our own strengths and weaknesses. As humans, we tend to view ourselves differently than how others view us. So it’s always best to seek the help of others. Whether it’s a therapist, a personal coach, close friends and family, the more people we ask the better. One or two strengths might start appearing more than once and we would need to focus on those.
“Friends are the mirror reflecting the truth of who we are.”Tweet this
Tip!: Sometimes people who piss us off the most are the ones who are most honest, so don’t discount their answers.
Once we know our personal strengths, we need to brainstorm ideas of how to capitalize on them in order to advance our careers and personal relationships. When it comes to our weaknesses, we can either choose to work on them when they’re acting as barriers to our progress or we can choose to work around them and ignore them if they don’t hinder us that much. The main idea is to be aware of them and fine-tune our lives to better use our strengths and dampen our weaknesses.
2. What are the opportunities and threats that exist around you?
The opportunities and threats we face deal with our environment; they could be the people around us or the company’s hierarchy. Change comes at a price. People around us might not like it. They might start talking about how we’ve changed and how they don’t particularly like the new us. Why? Because stepping out of the comfort zone threatens them somehow. So it’s a given that when we start making progress, we might need to shed a few relationships along the way, but that’s okay, because every space somebody leaves empty gets filled by someone better.
3. Finally, what does the V in ‘SWOT-V’ stand for?
The V stands for our personal values that define the important things in our lives. They help us look at the big picture and prioritize every aspect of our live. Possible values could be courage, honesty, loyalty, integrity, family. To know your values you might need to sit with yourself and look at life-altering moments in your life that felt right, and ask yourself, “Why did I make that particular choice?” The undercurrent of an important value may be lying beneath that choice. And another less obvious way of discovering your value is to figure out what makes you angry with passion. For instance, one value that usually inspires a lot of anger is injustice.
So if you’re trying to figure out your life right now, take the first steps to SWOT-V analyse your life.
Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook
This post first appeared on http://ahscribbles.com/3-ways-to-swot-v-your-life/
First photo via unsplash.com
Photo: “Xhienne — SWOT pt.svg” Wikimedia Commons
You tell yourself not to be too happy, to repress everything. Don’t go so high dear, so you won’t get hurt when you fall. But it’s not a relative thing, this emotion thing. When the worse day of your life comes and you experience a huge loss, it doesn’t really matter how high you used to be…where you were the day before or the month before that in fact….when you lose something, it hurts…it hurts so bad you will wonder how it is physically possible for your heart to hold so much pain and not run out.
The blogger at “Cakes, Tea and Dreams” wrote a beautiful quote on grief from “The Royal We”, “I remember understanding what a brutal thing it is to be the bearer of truly bad news – to break off a piece of that misery and hand it to other people, one by one, and then have to comfort them; to put their grief on your shoulders on top of all your own; to be the calm one in the face of their shock and tears. And then learning that relative weight of grief is immaterial. Being smothered a little is no different than being smothered a lot. Either way, you can’t breathe.”
The only thing you need to remind yourself is that it’s human. It’s all too human to feel. And maybe now you may feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, and there’s no such thing as hope and you’re on a roller coaster that’s going down, but you need to put one step in front of the other. I know the most default reaction is to be paralyzed but whether you like it or not, you need to take action. Because if emotion is energy in motion, then motion helps mold it.
That’s it for today.
A while back, somebody started the #100happydays project that asked the question, ,”Can you be happy 100 days in a row?”
The idea is quite interesting as it made people appreciate life’s simple pleasures. Soon social media sites were filled with pictures of coffee and books and cats and of course…selfies.
But if you really think about it, it’s quite an unrealistic expectation; staying happy for a 100 days in a row?
Life goes in cycles. There’ll be good days, not-so-good days and outright horrible days you wish you can forget and delete from your memory. There’ll be days when the alarm will go off and all you’ll want to do is throw it across the room; when no matter how much coffee you have you can’t seem to stay awake; when you just need everyone to go away and leave you alone. And when they do, you sit and brood about why you’re so alone…
My point is, there’ll always be ups and downs. It’s not really about having a 100 happy days in a row, but rather about having a repository of little things to help buffer you from the radioactive effects of the not-so-happy days. I say radioactive because sometimes one bad incident can have a long lasting effect on you; it causes a sort of mental tumor so you don’t think the same about something anymore.
Let’s take an example. I’ve always been used to seeing bodies of water wherever I go. It could be a lake or a river or an ocean…For the longest time, the Indian Ocean was the basis of one of my anxiety-reducing techniques. I would go into details about the technique but not today. Anyhow, come 2004, and the videos of the Tsunami spread around the media….and it took me a very long time to get over these mental images. Sitting down on the fence right outside of Fort Jesus in Mombasa was no longer something I enjoyed doing. It just made me anxious to leave.
It took a while to get over it.
So I guess the take-home lesson is to focus on the happy moments more than the unhappy ones, but don’t pretend the unhappy ones don’t exist because that’s just another way of numbing your emotions and as a great writer once said, “Pain demands to be felt.“