Whether we realize it or not, we all have values; ways of being or believing which are important to us. I was reminded of the significance of my values while on a family holiday a couple summers ago. We met my husband’s parents and brother and family in Vernon to celebrate my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. We stayed in a beautiful accommodation with a deck overlooking Lake Okanagan. We took turns preparing meals we ate together, we went stand up paddle boarding, splashed in the pool, went biking on the Myra Canyon Trestles, climbed our way through a ropes course and enjoyed an evening on some waterslides. Oh, how I miss those days! Upon our return home, I noticed that my introverted self did not require the space I normally do when in close quarters with people for an extended period of time, which made me wonder, why?
Here’s where values come in; several of my top values were honored while on this holiday. First, my value of love and family. I got to be with people whom I love and who love me. We got to be together and be a family together, eating meals and enjoying one another. That filled me up. Second, my value of fun and adventure. Each of the activities we did was fun to me, it was like each morning I awoke to a new present that I got to unwrap (and I love presents). Third, my value of rest and presence. Yes I love presents, but I also value presence. It felt like I was fully attentive and alive each moment I was away, whether it was on the deck reading a book, or watching a spider snatch up it’s prey, or being surprised at seeing up close how small a bat can be.
When our values are honored, when we are living in alignment with that which is most important to us, we find we are filled. I came home from my time away refreshed, and feeling recharged. Now truth be told, it wasn’t until 2 days into our trip that we realized we may want to plan some things to do, and I know with a great degree of certainty that had we not planned anything, I would have come home feeling like I had a good time, but missed out on enjoying some of the adventures we could have enjoyed. I may have felt good about being with family, but disappointed with the lack of adventure and subsequent fun.
Are you feeling drained during this COVID Pandemic? Do you wish you could go away for a holiday? Or hang out with family and friends the way you used to? Me too! It is likely that your values were not being met. For instance, I once stepped into a job where I was the first person to play a particular role, and as such, I was breaking new ground. There was part of that which I loved, for I enjoy learning and growing. My learning curve was huge. But over time I realized that when I was asked for input, and gave my honest perspective, I was not being heard. As days went on, I found myself losing energy, to the point where my husband said that when I was home, I was no longer present. The things which were so important to me, like family and presence were being overshadowed by the toll that misalignment with my values of honesty and respect were taking on me.
I get that right now, we cannot go on a vacation and enjoy time with our loved ones, but when it comes to values, there are many ways which they can be met. For instance, my values of love and family are being met during this pandemic as I Facetime family members and watch TV with my family each night. Rest and presence, well there’s been lots of that lately. Fun and adventure, those are harder to come by. We have been ordering in food that we had always wanted to try, but never had. We got a puppy (like the rest of you) to take on the new adventure of training, playing and loving on a cute little creature.
What breeds life into you? What holds meaning and significance to you? What can you not do without? Those are your values. Think about the last time you were really stoked or pumped about something. I get that may have been a while ago, but what about it was exciting to you? Now think about something which enrages you? What about it made you angry? The opposite of that is probably a value of yours.
If you were to name your top 5 values, what would they be? In what ways do you live in alignment with those values? And what one thing could you change to better align yourself with that which you hold most dear? This is a great time to tune into that which is most important to you, and to creatively brainstorm new ways to align with those values. I promise, it will give you a bit more energy, vitality and spice!