Research Paper By Susan Smith
(Life and Relationship Coach, CANADA)
So many people suffer from anxiety, depression, unhappy relationships, working just to pay the bills and stress, that they lose the spirit of really living life to the fullest. Identifying your values helps you gain clarity and focus. When you are clear on your values it becomes much easier to set healthy boundaries creating balance and harmony within your life. What is it that people value and how to identify those values?
Your values are your current estimations of truth. They represent your answer to the question of how to live.
The answer is different for everyone. Friendship, family, spirituality, religion, generosity, honesty, integrity, loyalty, diversity, monogamy, open mindedness, gratitude, flexibility, fun, vitality, empathy, compassion, love, career, adventure, companionship, community service, and so many more.
In order for a client to move forward and take responsibility for their life they need to define their values. Through asking these questions one can create an awareness for the client as to what is most important to them.
- What brings you joy and happiness?
- Where are you powerful in your life?
- If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
- What changes could you make to support this vision and pursue your goals?
This is a good place to start and the coach supports you along your journey of discovery and change. There is also a values test online at www.coachlee.com that is a great tool to use as a guide.
Why Do Values Matter?
The main benefit of knowing your values is that you will gain tremendous clarity and focus, but ultimately you must use that newfound clarity to make consistent decisions and take committed action. So the whole point of discovering your values is to improve the results you get in those areas that are most important to you.
Changes in values
Changes in values usually result from conflicts: we act in ways we don’t value, we gain a new perspective, we recognize inconsistencies among our values, or we are pressured to change our values by others.
A leading researcher of values, Milton Rokeach (1973), believes that,
It is often necessary to become dissatisfied with yourself before you will change your behavior, attitudes, or values. Logic and moral judgment are not the only factors changing our values. More important may be rationalizations, biased self-protective thinking, emotional personal needs, and even unconscious factors. So, to have true wisdom about our values requires knowledge and reasoning skills, awareness of our irrationality, insight into our emotions, and some probing of our unconscious.
This takes time and a willingness to know oneself, which isn’t always easy. This is one of the reasons why we need to pay attention to our thoughts, and how our life is moving, for only then can we stay in alignment with our values. By staying in alignment with our values we are being our authentic selves living in truth and happiness. When one finds people that share the same values life flows much easier, you feel more fulfilled, happiness comes in abundance and you feel you can conquer the world.
Find people who share your values, and you’ll conquer the world together.
Why Would We Want to Change Our Values?
You may want to change your values when you understand and accept where they are taking you, and you realize that what you appear to value right now will not enable you to enjoy the “best” possible life for you. Your “best” life is your vision of all the destinations you wish to reach – the greatest ultimate destiny you can possibly imagine for yourself. But your values are just a measure of the current direction you’re headed right now. And in most cases these two things are in congruent meaning that your current values are not aligned with the course of your best life. If you keep living by your current values, then you can expect to get similar results to what you’re already getting, possibly a little better if you apply them more consciously. But most likely there is some part of you that isn’t satisfied with where you’ll end up if you keep following this same course.
- What are the "airports" where your planes will merely pass over but never land?
- Will you never experience an intimate, loving relationship?
- Will you never have children?
- Will you never become wealthy?
- Will you never develop an outstandingly energetic physical body?
- Will you never travel around the world?
- Will you never be able to help your favorite cause?
- Will you never feel that you're living in total accordance with your spiritual beliefs?
- Now what if all these "nevers" could suddenly become possible for you?
- How can they?
They can become possible for you by shifting your values. And here’s the key: You don’t need to maintain the same values throughout your entire life. You can change them as often as you like. When you change your values list and consciously act on it, you change your behavior and therefore your results. And this can lead to incredible new experiences. For example, if your top value is health, and you’re already in outstanding physical condition, what would happen if you changed your top value to wealth? You would cut back on your workouts for a while and invest tremendous energy into becoming wealthy. Your investment in health would slide a little, but in the short-term, it probably won’t make a huge difference. Health may still be one of your top values, but it just isn’t number one anymore. So now by focusing intently on your new top value of wealth, you eventually succeed in becoming wealthy. But eventually as you become very wealthy, making more and more money beyond a certain point may no longer serve you. Now you decide to shift your top value to compassion, so you go out and use your healthy, wealthy self to compassionately help others. Through this process of consciously shifting your values, you’ve changed from a gym rat to an entrepreneur to a philanthropist. You’ve lived an amazing life. But if you always maintain your original values, you’ll only experience being a gym rat for your entire life. And most of your true potential would remain untapped.” Steve Palvina
How to transition your values to setting healthy personal boundaries?
When we blame another, we give our power away because we’re placing the responsibility for our feelings on someone else. People in our lives may behave in ways that trigger uncomfortable responses in us.However, they didn’t get into our minds and create the buttons that have been pushed. Taking responsibility for our own feelings and reactions is mastering our “ability to respond.” In other words, we learn to consciously choose rather than simply react. We can’t talk about resentment without also talking about forgiveness. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that we condone their behavior. The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person. The reality of true forgiveness lies in setting ourselves free from holding on to the pain. It’s simply an act of releasing ourselves from the negative energy.Forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing the painful behaviors or actions of another to continue in your life. Sometimes, forgiveness means letting go. You forgive them and release them. Taking a stand and setting healthy boundaries are often the most loving things you can do—not only for yourself, but for the other person as well.
You Can Heal Your Life
What is the Purpose of Setting Healthy Personal Boundaries?
The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of ourselves. We need to be able to tell other people when they are acting in ways that are not acceptable to us. A first step is starting to know that we have a right to protect and defend ourselves. That we not only have the right, but the duty, to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us.
To help a client discover what kind of boundaries they have and if they are working for them a coach could ask questions like this.
- How would you describe the health of your relationships?
- Do you know where others end and you begin?
- What are you saying no to? What are you say yes to?
- What toll is this taking?
- What is the result you wish to create?
The client now has an awareness of their boundaries and with the coaches help can put an action plan into place to create the desired results.
Taking Risks by Setting Boundaries:
It can be a scary feeling when trying to set healthy boundaries. When one stands up for what they believe in and value and puts this into practice many people react unfavorably, but taking the risk is well worth the effort. You are unique, gifted and special. Its time that you started believing in yourself and standing up for your values. You need to learn to let go of the outcome and learn to accept the situation however it unfolds. It’s not the experience that’s important, it’s how you move through it. Many people that you considered friends will fall away. If that happens, that’s okay for they did not have your best interests at heart or they came into your life for a short time to bring an awareness about yourself that you wanted to know. In order to attract good friends, one must learn to appreciate and value your own friendship with yourself.
Tips for Setting Boundaries:
- Know how you expect to be treated, and be clear about it to others. Many of us have been trained not to make demands or state our own wants when dealing with others. But consider this: How much easier would your day be if everyone you dealt with was completely up front with how they preferred to be treated and where their boundaries are.
- Don’t feel you have to offer explanations for your boundaries. When you set a boundary or refuse a request, you are under no obligation to explain yourself. You’re an adult, and adults give each other the respect of assuming they have good reasons for their actions. In fact, those who do require explanations often do so solely for the purpose of trying to shoot them down. Offering explanations gives the impression that you feel your boundaries and preferences are insufficient to stand on their own. Don’t short change yourself—state your case, stand by your requests and don’t let others try to argue you out of your own best interests.