If we don’t know what we really value, we will not create the dynamics we want. It is that simple.
The reality is that we’ve inherited a lot of values from our families and the greater world around us. Inundated with messages about what is valuable, we often don’t take time to really zero in on what matters most to us.
It’s popular to make lists of every quality you want in a mate. If you are like me, tucked away in some drawer or journal you have a list. My longest one is perhaps more than twenty qualities.
What is more effective is to really do our work.
That is to say, go inward. Figure out for yourself what you really value. What are your non-negotiables?
For example, my top values are as follows:
1. Spiritual practice.- Having a practice is a great vehicle that ensures growth, humility, awareness, compassion and service. This one top value of mine includes many others.
2. Community– I value being in community and serving communities. This is tribe. Family. I must be with someone who can partner with me to serve a larger vision. And someone who enjoys spending time apart and together in connection with others. This can include dance communities, creating a family, etc.
3. Communication- This includes being transparent, committing to learning how to show up honestly in relationship and connecting through communication. This also includes light-hearted communication, laughter, being able to joyfully connect in uplifting ways.
It took some work to get to those core ideals for me. It’s a much clearer list than the one I had before that read something like, “He must be wildly attractive!” In doing my internal work, I saw that I had an inherited conversation, that wasn’t mine, about what it meant to be with a good-looking guy. I’ve sacrificed a lot in the past just to be with a man who was hot.
When we’ve identified the programming, we have choice. We can move out that old energy and bring in the pictures we want for ourselves now.
I say it’s more powerful to have a list of three values that you must have vs. a long sheet of fifty traits.
If we are willing to put in the time and intention and do the work, we can figure out our real, core values, and let go of the ones we’ve inherited from our families.
A great place to do this work is in our current intimate relationships.
Notice when you are triggered. You’re angry. Pissed. Mad.
Let’s say it’s with a guy.
He didn’t call. He’s not giving you enough attention.
Here’s where the treasure lies. Take the time to ask: “Is this a real value of mine?” Look at the circumstances with an open mind. Question yourself. Look at the facts.
A great question to ask ourselves is: “What is the need here?”
When we are in integrity with our emotional needs, then we can speak them. That can create powerful understanding and connection.
Then we can look with more clarity. Is he really doing his best? Is he working full hours and doesn’t have a ton of time, but he’s shown up and communicated?
If so, then we realize that we’re bumping up against old expectations, or someone else’s values and not our own, or, we know it is a need and then we can speak it and have it met.
If we can pause, do a reality check, and question ourselves about whether or not the issue at hand is a deal breaker, then we are in a position of embodying our power and knowing our truth.
If it doesn’t really matter, and you can see he’s doing his best, and maybe it’s not one of your top three values, you can do the work within to resolve it for yourself.
The thing is, we act out internal struggles with others.
That’s what our relationships are for. Sometimes, it’s not so cut and dry. If we project anger on someone else and write them off too quickly, when really they are simply providing a mirror for us to heal within and get to know our true needs, we miss out on opportunities for love and valuable learning.
The courageous thing to do is stay, but we must know when to stay and when to go. This takes a willingness to really look at our own actions and know what we value.
In his inspiring and spirited film, The Shift, Wayne Dyer speaks of a study of women’s values. Turns out, it changes for us over time. Mature women shift what matters most, once they are older, and perhaps have more wisdom.
Before a “Shift” women value the following:
4. Fitting In
After a “Shift” Women value:
1. My own personal growth
2. Sense of self-esteem
It is my wish that in knowing those, we can shed the old values and find satisfying and real ones that contribute to peaceful relationships and serve the greater good.
It’s not just about our relationships with others, either, but about our relationship to our Self. Once we know what matters most, we can begin to put more time, energy and attention into those things that feel the most rewarding. Thus creating the life of our dreams, instead of being trapped in the routine of yesterday.
So, I leave you with a question:
What, dear friend, do you value most? Power lies in knowing what’s worth fighting for and when it’s time to turn within and do our inner work.
With blessings of joyful, embodied radiance,
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