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Are You Living by Your Values?


Living a values-based life is the underpinning of what creates a sense of belonging, connection, understanding, peace, or productivity within us. It is a feeling of coming home to ourselves. 

Personal values keep us moving forward when we are faced with adversity and are a representation of our most meaningful ideals, desires, and ideas. Core values are ingrained from childhood by the way we were parented, taught, coached, and by what we observed. Therefore, it is important that in our adult life we are being proactive in adopting values that resonate with our present life or where we see ourselves going in the future.

A women standing at the side of a barn at sunset

Is it important to know and be clear about our values?

Have you ever heard the theory that we are the average of the five people we are around the most? This is not just in characteristics; we also adopt the values of those we are around most, which when we  are not being intentional can create confusion, a sense of misalignment and a misguided path of the purpose within us. 

The environment in which we live and interact can also have an incredible impact on who we feel safe to be

Our culture is influential and our home environment is where we seek comfort, rest, safety, meaningful connection, and self-care – which affects our choices and experience of the world. There is a projection of values interwoven throughout our education systems, media and other organizational institutions that may or may not be true to each of us as individuals, but is being created as a societal norm. There are definite pros and cons to allowing where we live to impact how we perceive who we are.

As an example, the prevalent value system in urban centres tends to be more impersonal, individualistic, indirect, marketed,  industrial and focused on material well-being, career advancement and a steady stream of hustle. While there are more opportunities for individuals to, “find their tribe,” through similar interests and to try new things and have an advanced nurtured mindset open to diversity around belief systems and people’s ways of thinking/living, the pace being set to be successful often causes a lack in time and for more people to experience an increased sense of isolation and loneliness. Studies have shown there has been a significant increase recently in people in urban centres seeking a personal value system of belonging, community resonance and a less conflictual, role-specific, compartmentalized lifestyle.

In contrast, the primary value system in rural communities is usually relational and connection-centered, with a healthy aspect of predictability, community participation and relatability. Rural individuals often/tend to embody a deeper connection to their heritage/roots, to the land, the process of creating, and in developing a deepened respect of neighbors near and far living or working in a rural setting. There is organic availability for people to develop direct, fulfilling relationships based on similar life and professional experiences. The sense of security creates a calmer inner-compass. Social and professional roles intermingle, creating opportunities that fall under a supportive norm, yet people are often quite personally private. 

A woman sitting in a field at sunset

The downside to being so community-orientated is that rural individuals often struggle with the care of their emotional, physical and mental well-being due to the demand of a professional and personal rural lifestyle. Adopting personal values and moving away from a core belief system deeply ingrained by rural culture/family can create a fear of disappointing – or of being judged – by others.

Become aware of your personal top 10 values and the impact of utilizing your own core value system

Joy, courage, health, family, wealth, loyalty, service, and education are all examples of values  – (there are many more). It is normal for our values to fluctuate based on present life circumstances, our environment, and our past experiences (values that are discovered in ourselves based on what we saw others doing in their life and/or businesses and how we associate those behaviours and actions to how it makes us feel observing it). 

Values do fluctuate and have an opposing side; we need to be intentional about at least the top three that we direct or re-direct into focus. The polarity or “opposing” side to every value can be tricky and hard to recognize, but can hold us back if our intentions are not specific. For example, I personally discovered that acceptance was one of my top values (remember that values are part of every decision we make and belief we carry). As I have gone through life seeking acceptance, it has motivated a kindness in me, a willingness to be open-minded to other’s feelings, thoughts and life choices, a hunger to learn and a resilient, action-orientated mindset. The darker side of seeking acceptance is seeking validation, looking for others approval over my own, believing that I must live up to expectations set upon me not by me, fighting a battle of my own worthiness and self-perception. Understanding the difference between inviting acceptance, accepting myself completely and seeking validation in my life has been a huge milestone I have had to work through.

A women sitting on a tractor

We all want to live a life that has meaning and makes us feel fulfilled and safe

Maybe this means having a family, owning a business that provides a purpose-driven service, being a steward of the land, utilizing creative ability to bring smiles to peoples faces, being in service to a higher power, or volunteering in the community just to name a few. Living a values-based life with intention and practice designs a platform for us to invest in the creation of freedom and happiness in our lives. 

Article From: Spring 2021 Issue #2
Photography Credit: Teal Hallaby

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