Are You Honoring Your Values?
We are living in a world that is moving at an amazing pace. It is easy to get lost and misplace our feelings and values. Most of us are conditioned to devote most of our waking hours on our jobs and professional goals leaving little, if any, time for other important aspects of our lives.
Who can deny that we live in a highly competitive society that stresses the importance of being the very best, rather than simply to do the best we can? Many have bought into the grand deception of always wanting more, regardless of what they already have.
We have adopted the illusion that money, power, and fame can fill that self-created emptiness and make us feel complete. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with these things. It is the obsession with them that make them dangerous.
Maybe it would be wise for us to come to the realization that what we think we want in life may not necessarily be what we need in order to lead a truly successful and happy life. Maybe, just maybe, we are leaving out important factors from the equation of what truly completes us as individuals. Maybe it’s just a matter of making a slight shift, finding your balance and choosing a better way. Maybe there are too many “maybes” in this paragraph.
Here’s my point. Your personal and professional lives are parts of you that make up the whole of you. If you put most of your time and energy on one area, you run the risk of leaving the other unfulfilled. This is especially common with those who are high achievers, perhaps like you, dear reader?
When our jobs consume us, eventually there will be a price to pay. Of course, it is important to love what we are doing for a living. It is essential that we devote quality time towards our job and do our work with excellence. The problem arises when what we do for a living interferes with our other precious core values.
A value can be something tangible or intangible that we esteem highly; like health and fitness, honesty, truthfulness, freedom, courage, spirituality, beauty, raising well-adjusted children, taking care of our families, goodness, playfulness, self-sufficiency, disposable income, creative projects, time to spend as we like, and so on.
These cherished values are sacred parts of our self that need to be experienced and expressed. They give us self-worth. If we ignore them for too long, it leads to unhappiness, regardless of how prestigious your profession is, how much money you make or how successful you think you are.
The people facing a conflict between their work and their core values have conversations in their heads that go something like these:
- I’d like to spend more time with my family. I really enjoy spending time at home; I love quality time with my children, playing with them, helping them with their homework and learning about their favorite activities and their friends. I love my job, but it hurts that I am missing out on valuable time with my kids, time that I know I will never get back. I am going to have to cut down on working late. I want to occasionally leave early so that I can have more time for them. When I get home too late, I know that I missed out on something very special. And I don’t like going to bed feeling guilty.
- I’d sure like to take a whole weekend off from work, without interruption and free from emails, my cell phone and its text messages. I’m sick of taking my job home with me! I want to be able to do what I want, read a book, listen to music, work in my garden, or just sleep. I miss this part of myself and I’m taking it back.
- I want to do the things that connects me to my spirit. Yes, things are going great at work. I’ve been recognized as “salesmen of the year” three years in a row. I’m producing more than I ever could have imagined. I am truly blessed for the financial wealth I have accumulated over the years. But my spiritual reservoir is on “empty.” Taking time to commune with nature is important to me. I can’t remember the last time I went hiking or even walked through a scenic area. I barely have time to meditate or to appreciate a sunrise or sunset, the way I used to. I guess I just got caught up. Yes I’m successful, but I don’t feel fulfilled. I have to bring that sacred part of me back to myself. There is no reason why I can’t continue my success at work and fulfill this other sacred part of myself as well. I deserve to be happy on all levels.
If you’re having conversations like these in your head, it’s a sign that things must change, and it is up to you to change them. When you finally become aware that your job is interfering with other important parts of yourself, you can begin searching for ways to create more balance in your life. Noticing something’s not working is the first step to living in accordance with your values.
The result of living aligned with all your values is increased peace of mind, self-respect, a sense of mastery of your own life, and a sense of fulfillment. Now that’s what I call nourishing your soul!