This was a difficult exercise for me. I had trouble getting past the first step. We're supposed to be discovering our core values, click here for more details. The first step is writing about a peak moment, and the moment that came to my mind didn't seem to involve any special values on my part. I've always thought that I got lucky. So, my next plan was to write about some achievements at work, like when I helped a man who had trouble walking, not only walk again, but run, or when I helped a stroke victim who loves to dance, do the Macarena [she loves it]. I kept going back to my first thought, though, and wondering if there were values I was unaware of...
Describe a high point or peak moment/experience in your life or work up to now.
What was happening at the moment?
What does this experience say about you?
What values were being honored in that moment?
What do these values mean to you?
How can you elaborate on your description of these values?
A high point in my life was when I realized the depth of the love my husband and I shared. We were newly weds living in San Antonio, and struggling with our own business. Times were tough, and I would get depressed occasionally, sometimes not knowing why. He was always patient and understanding, and would comfort me. I could tell him anything. This was the first time in my life that I recall ever being able to trust anyone like I did him. What I've discovered about myself is that in spite of not knowing how to trust anyone, of a tendency to be drawn to people who would abuse me, and of low self esteem in general, I could learn to trust, get past my fears and discomfort, and be successful at something that was foreign to me. The values I needed to accomplish this were courage to leave my comfort zone, and insight to see that things could be better than what I've always known. What this means to me is that I will always be able to improve my life. I don't have to be victim of circumstances. To elaborate, hmm... I'm not sure how. I guess in looking around me through the years, I've seen many people who aren't able to do the same, so they live their lives making the best of a miserable situation. I was able to pull myself out of that miserable situation.
Describe a moment/experience in your life or work up to now in which you felt frustrated, angry, or upset.
What emotions were you experiencing?
Why did you feel that way?
What values were suppressed or violated in this situation?
This step made more sense to me after writing the first step. A low point in my life was a few years after my husband died. I was working two jobs, and taking care of my mother, who has Alzheimer's. I had forgotten to pay the electric bill, and my mother was left alone all day confused and afraid with no electricity, until I got home from my second job late that night. I snapped, and tried to take my own life. I felt like a failure, ashamed, and guilty for being too caught up in my own life to care for her properly. This was because I had lost the courage to continue with her care, and the insight to see how to get help. I had obviously lost touch with my core.
Beyond your basic survival and community needs, what must you have in your life in order to be fulfilled?
What qualities are essential to the life of your spirit?
I want to make a difference in people's lives, and I need change, to keep from getting bored. Most people must have a purpose in life, and I feel like mine might be to help people. The qualities I would need would be good communication skills, patience, and empathy. I'd also need to be motivating. To keep things changed up, I'd need curiosity, persistence, and determination.
What gives energy to you now?
What do you most value about yourself, your relationships, and the nature of your work?
What 1 or 2 things do you want more of or different?
My creative endeavours are my energy. Loyalty and conscientiousness are what I value about how I handle relationships and work. This last part was difficult, though. How do I narrow it down to one or two things, when I need so many things? I finally decided self sufficiency covers everything I need.
Revisit what you wrote in response to the above exercises, and pull out what you consider the most important values and concepts that have emerged.
Using each value as the beginning of a string, write a series of several related words separated by a slash. For example: Integrity/Honesty/Role-Model
When you have finished, number the strings in the order of those which you feel are the most essential to your living a fulfilled, harmonious life. The first 3 -5 are your core personal values.
- self sufficient/courage/insight
- good communicator/good listener/patient/empathetic/sensitive/creative
Courage and insight are words that I haven't used in the previous two exercises. I seem to have forgotten about them, and/or take them for granted. When I was a teenager, several people told me I had good insight, and should consider a career in psychology. I wasn't interested, because I always wanted to be an artist. I'm reconsidering now.