Bob Dylan once sang “times they are a-changin”; but now they are changing for the worse. Positive change begins with awareness of our values. Values are the standards and principles that act like an inner compass directing our choices, decisions and life path. When we begin actions unaware of our values, we unknowingly often mistreat others. Hurting others signals that someone is out of touch with or misaligned with their values.
Change is needed
When I’m not living connected to my values, I say hurtful words to others and become critical of whatever they do. I judge others as stupid, wrong or inconsiderate. I see the pain of my love-less words in their slumped shoulders and shocked faces. It’s a time of regret.
Unfortunately, I see more and more of us doing something similar to one another. Maybe we blame our unloving behavior on the chaos of the times or being too stressed. The stark truth reveals there is nothing and no one to blame, even ourselves. Instead of blaming, we could take responsibility for our actions and look deep within ourselves to see what needs to change.
Awareness begins from within
Change originates from the inside where awareness waits for discovery. Awareness of values and how we use them, is one key to changing from mistreating others to loving others. For example, once I became aware of judging instead of loving others, I started exploring the obstacles keeping me from my deep value of loving others.
For me, awareness showed me that thinking I have a “right to be right” was the obstacle blocking my loving others well. Then I wondered if anyone has a justifiable “right to be right”? Perhaps, this idea was a rooted in my white privilege and it also revealed my pride. I had work ahead of me to make loving others be an “operational value” not just an intellectual idea as Brené Brown says in the chapter on values in Dare to Lead.
So, I began by centering in my awareness and unblocking my obstacles. Making my values operational took work, but it’s worth the investment! Once free of the obstacles, I changed some habits and soon was back to loving others with both words and actions.
Benefits of living by values
Living by values becomes one’s NorthStar and guides the path to the life one wants to live. Remember that sustainable change begins with awareness of values. I help clients explore their personal values and use them in making impactful decision. They are empowered to once again live according to what is most important to them and have joy return to their life.
Contact me via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are curious about coaching with me. I would love to send you my tool for clients, Live by Your Values Worksheet.