“Live your days on the positive side of life, in tune with your most treasured values. And in each moment you’ll have much to live for.”
I love stand-up comedy. I have a lot of respect for the wit and wisdom good stand-up comedians bring to their performances. In a recent evening out with my friends, we went to a show which had strong approval ratings. From the get go, it was clear the topic of the session was going to be about making fun of a certain section of society. As the evening progressed, the jokes got more personal and more distasteful. And although I wasn’t from that section of society, I just couldn’t leave my brain behind’ as my friends suggested to join those around me enjoying the gig.
I spent some time later reflecting why I had reacted the way I did. It was, after all, meant in good humour and very clearly delivered as a series of jokes. I found that what it did was to dig into some of my core values like respect, integrity, inclusion…..Even in jest, I was subconsciously struggling to ridicule some of these values I held most dear.
Our values are the bedrock on which we build our lives. The basis on which our decisions, our choices, our direction is determined. As children we develop our values looking at those who we value the most, typically those who raise us and look after us. Their visible and invisible reinforcement of behavior is what forms a reference point for what is valuable to us.
As we grow up, these grow stronger and deeper, guiding our thoughts, our actions, our responses…..invisibly carving out the direction our lives will take as a consequence of those actions. The greater our congruence to our values, the greater our sense of fulfillment and peace. When we are in harmony with our values, we are satisfied and peaceful, energized to do more. The further away we are from our values, the more difficult it becomes to be authentic, the harder it is to perform. We feel drained and strained, unhappy and stressed out. This is true for every aspect in life – friendships, relationships, jobs, happiness etc.
Think about a job which you loved – it is very likely that your core values were tapped into / nurtured in that job. Similarly think about a job you disliked or struggled with – it is highly likely it was suppressing or not using your core values. Values are often invisible, and those who have a heightened level of self awareness can easily identify what the root of their unhappiness / discontentment is. For others who may not be as self aware, it can be a frustrating situation, spiralling into guilt, shame, fear and even feeling meaningless.
If you don’t know your core values, take the time to discover them. They will light up your darkest days and help you weather the worst storms. Ask yourself what is truly most important to you, what defines you as an individual without the roles you play in life. This takes some unwrapping but the gift you will finally give yourself is meaning, purpose, success, happiness and peace. #GiftTheLight