Values work is not new to me. I remember listing my top 5 values at least once during the time of my marriage in order to discover where there was a match and where there wasn’t. I’ve also done it for business purposes.
As I make my way through this next chapter in my life, I am called to do this values work again. I’ve come to understand that any client, project or friendship I engage with must support the expression of my top values. I learned this the hard way, of course. I got myself into a sticky situation with a man and it was ultimately disastrous on the emotional front.
Why was it disastrous? Values! It was a situation that compromised my values. It’s not that it was all bad, but the circumstances gave rise to a significant imbalance between us. Furthermore, it was not the path I set for myself when I realized my marriage was done. At some level I knew it but this was someone I liked quite a bit, whose attention I enjoyed immensely, so I stuck with it until the dissonance was so severe I had to disconnect and regroup. It was not pretty.
As a Soloist You Have Less Wiggle Room
However you initially cope with the separation from your spouse, you are much more emotionally vulnerable than you are likely to realize at first. It makes sense. You left your union to establish your own course. You feel empowered as you step into this new space of relative freedom. It may take a while to understand that you need to protect your energy and your personal space in ways you might not have needed to when married.
Knowing your Values helps clarify your boundaries; who you will let in and who may not pass this way again.
Your core values aren’t likely to change but as a soloist you have even less wiggle room. You have no other “protection” against that which threatens your well being. If you compromise your values now there is no one to lean on. There is no one who will save you from yourself. This is your job now, 100% your responsibility. Good news, don’t you think?
My top 5 Values and How they Work
Once I was out of the bouncy stage, it occurred to me that this would be an excellent time to revisit my core values. My values list changed from previous efforts. Truthfully, these values were always there. I just didn’t understand them the way I do now. As a result of this separation process, including mishaps along the way – see above – I have learned a lot about what I need in order to be my best self. With experience comes refinement.
This is a new one for me, but I’ve determined it’s my core value. The other 4 uphold this one. If I’m not experiencing inner peace I can’t do much at all. If I am emotionally stressed I am useless to myself. That’s the key isn’t it? I’m useless to myself if I get overly involved with people or projects that disturb my well being, or take me off path.
I love this one. For me, discovery is the juice of life. It incorporates the potential for transformation, and a sense of adventure. I love happening upon new cool places, especially in nature. I also love the element of curiosity and discovery in conversation. This is the “sexy” juice potential of any connection.
Who doesn’t value communication? Well, apparently not everyone does. I describe it as conveyance of feelings and ideas through language. It is all about sharing. It can happen in a look, too. Or through touch. I happen to like words and love an engaging conversation. Furthermore, healthy communication facilitates understanding when things get difficult.
In the absence of honest and forthright communication, there is too much room for interpretation. Due to recent experiences, I now know that people can talk a good talk, and they can also hide behind words. They can say nothing at all, which becomes problematic when something ought to be communicated, especially anything that might build and fester if withheld. I’d rather hear the truth than live in fantasy land, for good or bad. I know this now. It’s essential.
Fun is categorized as a value, laughter normally isn’t However, it’s something I value, and here’s why. Laughter gives rise to a sense of safety. If I can laugh at something, if I can laugh at life, and especially if I can laugh with others, there is a sense that all is well. The same is true of the fun. Fun is about play, and play provides balance. I’m a pretty serious woman, and I’m also not at all. I have to be comfortable enough with someone for the playful side to come out. When she does, happiness!
After identifying my top 5 values, I am better able to gauge an experience than I was before. The results were almost immediate. I had 2 different experiences in a single day, one right after the other. The first encounter was good and the other was frickin’ awesome. What do you know? The one that was frickin’ awesome hit all 5 values.
Responsibility for Your Top 5 Values Starts with You
I’ve noticed that when a woman does values work, or identifies her top 5 needs, let’s say, the automatic response is to look out there at the people in her life with expectation. They should bring these values and experiences to her. Nope, I’m afraid that’s not the way it works, not completely anyway.
Take the value of Honesty/Forthrightness. It’s an easy one to see. Since this is my value, I’m the one who needs to uphold it. When I uphold it I am the one who gets the authentic life. Only when I do that can I begin to expect that others around me will reflect these values back.
You set the tone for your life. Values help you calibrate to your own tune.
~~~ What About You? ~~~
When you read what happened when my values were compromised, what did think? Did you think “of course,” or did you groan in recognition?
If you were to take a stab at your top 5 values, what would they be and why? Feel free to share in comments, or drop me a line. I’d love to hear.