What are your values?
This seems like an easy question. We assume we know what our values are, and we also assume that other people pretty much share those same values. Integrity, compassion, kindness. Nothing revolutionary here.
But I was reading a book recently that was discussing how the decisions we make spring directly from the values we have, and it occurred to me that maybe I needed to check in more explicitly on those values—not just the ones I lay claim to abstractly but the ones that inform my daily choices. So I started making a list and fleshing it out a bit. Awareness was the first value on my list. Then Gratitude. Then Empathy. But as I really thought honestly about myself, I started adding things like Preparedness, Productivity, and Diplomacy.
A few things happened then. One, I could clearly see that other people, including my own spouse, don’t necessarily share my values or think about them in the same way. I value Honesty but à la Emily Dickinson who suggests we “Tell all the truth but tell it slant—.” Definitely not my spouse’s take. I want to conduct our household with a mindfulness toward maintaining Harmony. Not necessarily so with my spouse. And then along came revelation two. My own values are often in conflict with each other. Respect for Authority—even if it creates discord and therefore disrupts Harmony—is important to me. Efficiency is often directly at odds with Awareness.
We don’t have to reconcile this, but we should be pondering it. What are our values, both those we think we possess and those our daily actions suggest we possess? Why do we value what we value, and which ones are the most important? Let’s create a robust value board and see what we discover.