|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Jan-Apr 2001||Discussion|
IDENTIFY YOUR VALUES
YOUR values can influence where and how you live; how you behave; skills and abilities you learn; relationships you have; the career you choose; how you spend your money; how you divide your time; how you relate to the rest of the world; how you think and feel about yourself; what you hope to achieve.
This all seems so obvious, as I read the April 2000 issue of Positive Health. Yet, many people live their lives without being attuned to what their values are. It so much easier to work like a machine than to think like a human. The routines of a machine are far simpler and more certain than the ambiguities and subtleties of human nature.
In my travels, I observe how other people live. Why does my mother prefer chopping vegetables by hand to using a food processor? Therapeutic, she explains. It releases her mind from the burdens of the day. I recall that I indulged in such frenetic activity after work. I imagined that the carrots, courgettes, and garlic were the colleagues I disliked. I got even greater pleasure when I deep fried the pieces afterwards.
But values, said the article, are often inherited or received without question. We live as we should live rather as we could. "Knowing your true values can also confirm ... things you don't want in your life. If your values are not being met, you are likely to become dissatisfied, depressed, disheartened, resentful or bitter."
Prioritise and note the five values you must have and ask when did you know you didn't have it - and when did you know you did. Defining one's values is a hard thing to do. Long ago, I knew what I didn't want. Now, I should know what I do want. It is so easy to be sidetracked - to want what others want, to define oneself according to the most sought-after identities and lifestyles. Alternatively, it's tempting to rebel against what you think everyone else wants, just for the sake of being different.
Values, priorities, trade-offs, compromises. These are words that did not exist in my vocabulary a few years ago. Now I have to question my values and priorities. I have to make trade-offs and compromises because I've come to the realisation that I cannot physically or mentally do everything I want to do. I cannot be alternative-driven anymore.