Is there anything more important than living life aligned with our values?
I’d say NO - because our values are precisely what is most important to us in life. Things like Love, Integrity, Growth, Peace, Fun and Adventure, Joy, Honesty, Achievement, Contribution, ...fill in the blanks. If you ask yourself what’s important to you (in life generally, or in a specific life area), and keep asking that question, you’ll arrive at your values.
Living aligned with our values is the most fulfilling thing we can do in life. Because when we live in line with what’s most important to us, we feel on track, we feel our life has meaning. And don’t we all essentially just want that?
But often we’re less fulfilled than we’d like to be. So what takes us off track?
I’ve come to see that in 99% of the time it’s our emotions.
We’re reacting to life’s ups and downs, our emotions following, seemingly completely out of our control… One moment we’re feeling on top of the world, and another something happens that throws us off - a piece of critical feedback, a well-meaning family member not believing in us, trying to ‘spare’ us the pain of disappointment, a lack of results in whichever way you’re focusing your efforts, a health issue, a relationship issue, financial worries, and on it goes…
These external events and life challenges seemingly take over and our emotions are all over the place. Which affects our mind, our ability to focus, our level of inspiration and belief in ourselves.
We feel as if lost in a maze, wandering around hitting one dead end after another, hoping to find a way out soon, but fearing it could take a while… Repeat that cycle a few times and you start to see that as being your life. Instead of marching enthusiastically in the right direction, you feel like you’re moving through treacle...
And so our spirit plunges ever deeper, and over time we may actually start to believe the well-meaning family member who thinks we can’t live out our dream. And we may conclude that the lack of results in that one area means we just aren’t good enough. And the health issue, or a relationship issue, becomes our identity and consumes all our attention and disengages us from our power to create a life where we feel nourished by our values.
We live feeling like our values are a distant ideal, a dream we could live ‘if only…’
...if only our relationship was OK
...if only our health would support us
...if only we could catch a break and get some momentum in that creative project we’ve been working on
...if only we had more money
But that’s where we get it wrong.
It’s not about ‘that project’ or ‘that relationship’ or even our health…
The journey towards a life aligned with your values starts with YOU - within your inner world, your emotions, your energy, your mindset.
It’s precisely our emotions that most often take us off track.
Fear of failing, fear of being rejected, fear of being alone, or vulnerable, or tied down, …
Shame that we aren’t further along, so why bother
Shame that we’re so brazen as to want something different for our lives than all of the people we know, and to think that we could have it.
And let’s not forget confusion… who are we here to be, what is my purpose, what path to take, why am I behaving in this way and not another?
Confusion indeed is just another way we’re delaying living aligned with our values.
If we actually asked ourselves, we’d all KNOW what is most important to us in life.
If we stripped away the fear (knowing that a certain level of safety is everybody’s base need), what would be left? If we had no fear (e.g. we knew we couldn’t fail) what would we go for in life?
That’s the outline of your potential...not even close to all of it, but a doorway into what’s possible.
And getting your emotions and your inner world to support you is an ESSENTIAL piece in making any of it a reality.
It’s not just about arriving at a shiny goal or a destination though. It’s about feeling a sense of possibility and expansiveness about yourself and your life, it’s about feeling you’re on track right now, you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re aligned with what’s most important to you and you feel good about life...that’s the real payoff of getting your emotions to support you.
And what it takes to get our emotions on board with our aspirations, is what I call emotional fitness. Quite like physical fitness, it takes practice, and it provides a baseline that enables us to live our lives in the most fulfilled way possible.
And who wouldn't want that?
Wishing you well,