Updated: Jul 26
Download our Core Values Worksheet or use your journal to work through the exercise.
This probably isn't the first time you've heard of core values, but have you taken the time to identify what yours are? Even further, have you taken the time to recognize your values, somatically, when they're being honored or violated?
Knowing our core values allows us to interact with our world and each other in alignment with who we are. It seems benign to some, but the truth is that the highest level of integrity that you can demonstrate is alignment with your core values. Additionally, when we move through the world aligned, we are far better equipped to establish and honor boundaries, both for ourselves and each other. It no longer matters how someone else receives your boundary, because you know the values that you uphold and there simply isn't any wiggle room on the issue.
Before we jump into the exercise, I'll say these last couple of things - values can and do change in accordance with our stage in life. This means that you'll probably find yourself evaluating your values every now and again. Some may remain consistent through life, but don't get stuck on identifying your values with the expectation that you'll never evolve from them. You're human; you'll evolve. Secondly, the worksheet we provide includes a list of core values, but this list is not exhaustive. If you don't see your values represented on the list, just add them - you do not have to select from the options we provide. Our list is for inspirational purposes.
Identifying Core Values
This initial part of the exercise can either be simple or really hard. If you've had any experience in recognizing values, or have a fairly accessible sense of identity, this will probably be easy. If you've had your values, beliefs, experiences denied (especially habitually) and don't have a clear sense of identity, this part could be challenging. Either way, it's an exploration of curiosity. There are no wrong answers - this is a method for attuning to self.
Review the list of Core Values from the worksheet and begin to consider which values resonate most with you.
Narrow down the list to your top 10 and add them to the Identify page of the worksheet.
Narrow that list to your top 3-5 Core Values and add them to the Narrow page of the worksheet.
Being in Your Values
The Recognize pages of the worksheet ask you to take identifying these values a step further. As you work through the list, don't just think about the meaning of the word, but also consider how that word shows up for you and how you show up in it. Think about how it feels to embody that word or to experience it - both as yourself and in relationship to others. Ask yourself: Does this word evoke physiological reactions in me? If so, what are they and what does that reaction tell me about my relationship to this word?
This practice and exploration is what allows us to attune to our body and fully acknowledge the space these values hold. In doing so, we give ourselves permission to live in our values, and to honor our boundaries when we feel as though our values are being compromised or violated. This is what helps us recognize our own power and authenticity. Every time we sidestep our values for the sake of another individual or situation, we self-abandon. Self-abandonment creates distrust with ourselves and increases insecurity. If you're struggling with moving toward secure attachment (more on this in a future post), my first suggestion is to ask if you're self-abandoning and make a small shift toward attunement.
Apply your newfound knowledge to your daily life. Be resolute through your interactions and decision-making. Evaluate your values every once in a while, especially as you start to notice that aspects of those values simply aren't true anymore. Don't worry if they change, they're likely to! We're human beings, we're expected to evolve as we learn and grow. You'll sense when you've outgrown something, so go with the flow and don't get caught up in the "shoulds" or "supposed tos" of your (sometimes) over-worked mind. Have grace with yourself and your human process.
If You're Looking for More...
I want to cordially invite you to complete our short course: Boundaries, Not Barriers, where you can take your values a step further and use them to cultivate your personal boundaries. Boundaries, Not Barriers is a course in establishing and honoring your personal boundaries so you can protect your peace without feeling like shit!
As always, I appreciate your presence here.
Until Next Time,