Living Your Values

These days there is a lot of talk about living your values.   How to live them is less discussed. Today I will share with you four keys to being able to live your values effectively.   Living your values is the most powerful way to communicate them to others.

To live your values effectively you first need to identify your personal values.

That is, what is important to you, not what others tell you is important. I repeat, what is important to YOU. What is it that matters to you the absolute most? What is it that makes life worth living for you? Select one, two or three things that you would be willing to give your all for.   What brings joy into your day?

For some people a value could be a principle such as honesty.   For others it could be groups or interactions for example their family. Yet others may find a practice or object could be what does it for them, perhaps they live for vintage cars or to play tennis.   Naturally a combination of values is common.

Next you need to be able to describe your values in a behavioural or objective manner. That is so that they can be recognised, especially, but not only, by you. What does the value look like when in action? This allows you to identify the actions that you need to take to be living in alignment with your values. For example if you value being a tennis player what level do you want, what skills do you need to learn?

One-way to identify your values is to look at what you already do, or intend to do, with your whole being.  Another is to look at others that you admire and clearly state what it is that they do that you admire.

Once you have identified at least one value and what it looks like you have the foundation for beginning to implement it in your life, to live it effectively. This could easily require you to change habits you currently practice and overcome obstacles in the way.

Living your personal values is not only practicing the required actions.

It is also important to be able to protect and nourish your ability to practice your values. For this it is necessary to consider the things that make it difficult to practice.  For example if honesty is something you value, yet you find you instinctively become protective and less open around some people.   This might mean that you need to consider who you spend your time with.

Practicing your values is more than saying I value this.

You also need to practice, protect and nourish them.

On the journey to living your values effectively you may find your values change or are refined.   Perhaps your true values simply become clearer for you as you live them day-to-day.

Living your values effectively allows you to communicate your values in your actions, be recognised for what is important to you, draws in others who also value what you do and as a consequence you get to live a fulfilled life. Enjoy!

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Building Closeness

Closeness is the foundation of healthy relationships.  It is the ability to connect with another, to gain access to their inner world, and it is a two way process.  As a consequence, while building and maintaining closeness is a skill we can learn, closeness can only occur between individuals that have the skills and wish to connect with each other.  Closeness is worth developing, for the experience of being socially connected, as well as the, better health, wellbeing, longer life and greater life satisfaction it provides.  Closeness is not just the glue for society it is the foundation for a truly fulfilling life.

To develop the skills for closeness it is essential to be aware it is a process, something to do and continue to do because life is about change.  The process of closeness involves two key steps 1) knowing and 2) caring.  These take time and being present.  Too often individuals’ feel they do not have the time and or are too preoccupied to be present with others.  Remember if you stop practicing closeness it will fade. The lack of closeness in one’s life ensures a sense of loneliness, separation and lack of belonging.  You can only gain from closeness by taking the time, learning to be present and practicing the process of building closeness with those around you continuously.

To get to know someone it is necessary to take the time to establishing a safe space, listen to what they are saying and practicing validation.  Key to the process is asking questions out of curiosity, a genuine interest in the other.  Alternatively to allow someone to get to know you it is necessary to be able, and willing, to share your own inner world.   And to do so in a way that is maintaining a sense of safety.  Getting to know someone and sharing with another are challenging processes.  There are important communication skills required: listening, questioning, validation, creating and maintaing a safe space.  The key mindsets of curiosity, openness and mutual respect are also valuable.

A sense of safety and trust builds with time, even when caring is expressed.  It is important that each individual knows they are cared for.  Caring for another involves investing in ‘their best interests’.  That is to empower them to meet their needs, desires, their right to have a life of personal fulfilment and satisfaction.  Being caring also has numerous skills the ability to be empathic, demonstrate caring, being able to handle disagreements and maintain a caring bond over time.  Plus the mindset of doing or being in service to the other(s), being kind, generous and having a sense of contentedness.

Building closeness is an important and complex process.  It is rather unfortunate that it is not commonly intentionally taught as it is the foundation of our life, particularly when we want a satisfying, connected life.