Your Values Shape Your Life

Your Values Shape Your Life

Did you realize that your values dictate the life that you lead and the results that you get? Your values shape your choices.

How you decide to spend your money, your time, your energy, and effort is dictated by your values. It’s your internal mechanism for knowing what things to focus on and what to ignore.

The freaky thing is that it’s the hierarchy of your values which really affects you. That’s when you choose one thing over another.

Your values hierarchy is the list of things or ideas that are important to you, in the order that they are important. You already have this values hierarchy inside, even though you probably never consciously thought about it. It’s just one of the ways that human brains are designed to organise things.


How do I get my values?

You have picked up your values through your life by modeling and learning from your parents, your teachers, your friends and colleagues, people you admire and people you dislike.

You pick up your values with that executive function you have in your mind, that meta-choice. That higher part of your mind that takes an idea or and says “yes” or “no” to it.

For example, if your parents worked really hard and gave everything they had for you as their child, you may have unconsciously said “yes” to the values of family and hard work. If you heard them say things like “Money’s not the most important thing you know” or “Money doesn’t buy you happiness” you may have devalued money compared to happiness or love, friendship or family. Or simply devalued it altogether. If you did that, I would not be surprised if you had very little in your bank account right now.


Your values can change.

You values can naturally change and shift over your life as you are exposed to different things and have epiphanies about “what’s really important”. Sometimes people who have been in an accident, or have had a life threatening illness, or who have lost someone they were very close to may say things like: “You know those things I used to worry about, just aren’t important anymore”. They have had a spontaneous values realignment, based on their experiences.

Your values shift as you go through different phases in your life. For example, when you were a child, your parents were the center of your world and highly valued, then, as you went into your moody teenage years and began socialising, you probably devalued your parents, separated yourself from them, and began to value your friends’ opinions more and more.  Then perhaps as you get older still and became an adult in your 20’s and 30’s you may re-evaluate your relationship with your parents again and begin to value them highly again, though in a different way. This is a natural phase of growth, and it is a good illustration of a natural shift of values.

Your values are the foundation, like the branches of a tree, all the other ideas that you have about that thing, hang off that value. Both positive and negative ideas can be encompassed in the representation and feelings your have about that one word or idea. Everyone’s values incorporate the social memes or ideas about that value as well as your own personal beliefs, experiences and decisions. For example, if you think about the value of health, most people would agree that health is important and would agree to a certain extent about the definition of what that means, but every person has a different value on their health and how that idea fits into their life. You may think health is the absence of disease, not being sick, or you may think of it as being full of boundless energy and vitality, it may incorporate fitness, and sport, or medicines, supplements and pharmaceutical drugs. What does health mean to you? What images, ideas and memories does that word conjure up for you? Is it an empowering word?


Do your values support & empower you?

Each one of us will either be empowered or disempowered by our ideas and beliefs that form around our values, if you think of health as not being sick, and it conjures a fear of getting ill or hurt, that’s probably not very empowering for you, and likely creates a feeling of worry or anxiety. Which in turn would cause you to de-value your health, then you would find that something always “comes up” when you try to get to the gym or go food shopping. If on the other hand, it is linked to ideas of happy times playing sports, or exercising, eating delicious healthy food and feeling great then you will probably feel empowered about the idea and no matter how busy life gets, you always have time for your health.

Do you see how powerful these simple words are?

Discover your values activity.

So, my question to you is: Do you know what your values are? Do you know what’s most important and least important to you?

I urge you to take some time to reflect on what is most important to you in your life. When I say this, I mean what values, what abstract concepts are important to you: e.g. Family, Health, Passion, Abundance, Joy, Meaningful Work, etc.

Don’t wait for a life-threatening illness to make you take stock of what’s important to you. Do it now!

  • What’s most important to me in my life?
  • Brainstorm out as many words as you can think of, write them all down.
  • What makes my life great?
  • What would make my life difficult to live without?
  • What would I love to have?
  • What would make my life amazing?
  • What would make my life unbearable if I did not have it?
  • When you have a list of all the things that are important to you, go through and pick the top 10.
  • Some words will mean similar things to you, so you can go ahead and “merge” them under the one idea or value.
  • When you have chosen your top 10 go ahead and organise them in order of priority in your life.
  • This may not be easy, especially as you get to the top.
  • Persist and split hairs to find which is most important to you, it’s worth it.
  • Check if these are your true values by comparing them to your life:
  • How do you spend your money?
  • How do you spend your time?
  • What do you always have time for?
  • How have you furnished your house? What do you like to have around you?
  • Are these values displayed in your life?
  • Are you missing something?
  • If you are add it in and re-organise the list.
  • Once you have the list, you can assess it.
  • Are these the best and most empowering priorities for your life?
  • Are you using words that really evoke positive emotion, and strength in you.
  • Are these the values you would like to CHOOSE to continue to live by?
  • Or would you like to make a shift and add in a new priority.


Shift the word, shift the world.

With one client, when we shifted his value from Health and Fitness (which was not very exciting for him) to Vitality he immediately shifted and found that he could actually get excited about doing exercise! Amazing! It just took one word to shift the whole perspective.

Understand too, that when you shift one value up, another one will get bumped down. They can’t all be number one. Those things that are higher on your values, you will always have time for, and you will be organized in that area. Those things that are lower on your values list you will have more disorganization, or chaos. That is why as you grow and become more aware your values will become more and more abstract, something like, Passion, Excellence, Peace or Oneness may become your highest value, and that can trickle down and positively influence all the different areas of your life.

Philosopher and teacher Dr. Demartini has made this joke: “Didn’t you know that’s the purpose of marriage? You marry someone who has opposite values to you, so you can delegate the stuff you don’t want to do to your husband or wife. And they do the same to you!” He has a point. He says that the highest purpose is that through loving the other person, we can learn to love those things that we de- value in ourselves and thus learn to love ourselves more fully. I like that.

What do you value? What’s important to you?


Comments (1)

  1. yes I believed that values shape my life whether personal or societal influences.

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