I wanted to preface this post with a note letting the reader know that I literally organize my thoughts as I write this. So it makes it informal, for one, but possibly even a little … not confusing but maybe more jumbled than how I would normally present a blog post.
My counselor gave me a worksheet (well, multiple worksheets) that will assist me in figuring out who I am and what I want. What is important to me as a person? What is important to me as a partner? As a Mother? Etc.
I started exploring my thoughts on one that is about value clarification. Of course it wasn’t easy for me to navigate my thoughts on the topic so I’m going to explore them here before meeting with her next.
I’m supposed to select the 10 most important items (values) from a list. They are all single word beliefs that define what is most important to me and guide my choices in life.
- Free Time
Immediately I’m able to throw out a few but not many, which surprised me. It showed me that I really need to do this work! I ruled out Power. That is not a value that motivates me when making decisions. I ruled out Adventure. I ruled out Recognition. While recognition is nice, it doesn’t motivate me. I ruled out Popularity. I also ruled out Independence. I think it is great to be independent. I will encourage my son to be independent. Doing things independently is not something I generally prefer nor enjoy. There’s a couple exceptions but I’m comfortable removing that from my top 10.
There was a lot on the list I immediately chose. Love. Honesty. Morals. Friends. Calmness. Fun. Humor. Loyalty. Spirituality. Respect. Stability. Safety.
I’m adding Boundaries to the list. I need to explore this more as I work through all this.
I’m also adding Usefulness/Contributing. I’m considering usefulness/contributing as a top value. If you are a human being not contributing to life, not making yourself useful somehow, than you are living life incorrectly. We are here to grow and help and improve, so make sure you are doing that!
There were some I have questions about. One of which I’ve explored in a past blog post: Success. What is success? Success is important to me, this I know. Perhaps it would help me to read back what I wrote in the post. I find success an interesting topic. I’m going to rule it out though as one of my top values. At the end of my life I want to feel successful but I will feel that way by utilizing some of these other values along the way.
Another one I question is Knowledge. Knowledge leads to Wisdom, doesn’t it? Knowledge is an immature version of wisdom which is like the grandparent. I’m an information seeker. I enjoy researching things. Is knowledge and wisdom a top value in my life? Does it help guide me when making decisions? Hmm….
Wealth. Being wealthy is not important to me but financial stability is.
Financial stability leads to one that I know is in my top 3: Stability. Stability doesn’t just mean financial stability to me but it’s a big part of it and has had a big influence on most decisions I have made so far in my life.
The other two in my top 3 is Safety and Honesty. Safety is also related to stability, they go hand in hand.
Then there are a bunch that I don’t want to commit to ruling out. I may have chosen 12 immediately but I can’t cross the rest out yet. I need to break these down further.
As I’ve shared through my blog over the years, friends and family are complicated for me. I want to keep friends as a top value. Although I don’t have many, I see huge value in having friendships and it will always be a focus of mine to get a good group of people around me and my family. Family is important to me, my son being THE most important thing to me in the entire world. I’ll add that to my top values but hesitated to initially because of the complicated relationships I have with my extended family.
Love. Absolutely a top value. It should be for all of us.
Fun and Humor I will explore together. I need more fun in my life. Life is not to be lived if it’s all grind. It’s very important to fit some fun in from time to time, maybe even frequently. That’s an area in my life that needs to improve. I intend to ask my son throughout life, when needing to decide if he wants to continue with a sport activity, for example, if he is having fun with it. If not, than it seems like an easy decision to make. Humor is an important quality to have. I use it a lot in the professional setting to keep my guard up. I’m a pretty real person and prefer to have honest conversations. When it isn’t the place for that, I prefer humor to lead the conversation. I want both to be in my top values.
Loyalty. Ruling it out. Bye. I am a very loyal person by nature but I think loyalty is getting to be a quality you find less and less these days. I’m deciding to rule it out because I don’t know that loyalty has often paid off for me and decisions need to be made independent from one another, not because of an obligation or what may feel like a burden. This is another one with exceptions but not an overall life value.
I’m still not doing a good job narrowing down to 10. This puts me at 9 top values right now.
Peace. Peace is something we should all be striving for. We should all be able to find it. I think it may be something for later in life, however. Peace does not necessarily sit in the back of my mind when I’m making decisions. It is very important but it is not something that I feel very often. I’m at peace with decisions I make. I analyze the situation, make an effort and do the best I can until I’m able to be at peace about it but its a value on a different level. I’m not adding it to this list.
I also just decided to take out Responsibility. I have always been responsible. Always. I don’t know that I recommend it! I believe it has taken the adventure out of my life. The spontaneity. Like loyalty, I don’t know that it has paid off for me. I need to explore that idea more. My responsibilities always take precedence and … why? I will always be responsible but I don’t know that I will encourage my son to always be as I raise him. Pay your bills, absolutely. Pay your taxes, yes. There will always be no budging type of responsibilities but feeling loyal and/or responsible for the wrong things is not serving you.
Lets also throw Beauty out of the mix. External beauty isn’t a quality I hold value in. I need to work on my own point-of-view regarding myself but I don’t find that a valuable quality towards other people. Internal beauty is something I care more about. It holds value when making decisions about bigger things such as respect and trust in others. It holds value when judging someone’s character. It’s like a sub-category in my eyes so is off this list.
Free Time and Variety. Two more things I do not have enough of in my life. They are both important. I notice when I don’t have them for an extended period of time I start to feel frustrated. Variety is more important to me in a work setting. I find the importance of it with Lincoln’s development even more. Whenever I have some free time I never do what I dream I will do with it. I suck at free time now, in fact. I imagine that I will go out and get my nails done and go shopping or something but then I end up being an introvert and staying home. I’ll rule them both out for these purposes but do see a lot of value in both in order to stay in a healthy mindset. Relaxation should tie into free time also. I’m not good at relaxing anymore either. I did a decent job of it when I had a recent day off but I literally had to give myself permission. I still cleaned the house some but allowed myself to just veg out and watch TV. I relax in a massage… I just feel like there is always something to do. Like a permanent fight or flight way of being. I think relaxation is important despite the fact that I’m not in a good place with it right now. I’m happy for people who are better able to! I’m ruling it out as an important value because it’s not on the same level as some of the others and I’m not in a season to make it a priority.
Calmness was a value I chose as important. Is it a strong enough value to beat out Respect and Morals and Spirituality? Oh, and possibly Boundaries?
If I’m to really explore it openly, the opposite of calm is anger. Anger makes me think of yelling. When an argument is happening in my house, yelling will likely occur. That is what both my husband and I were raised with. Stopping that pattern has proven to be very difficult. I’m calm out in the world and in the workplace but its different at home. Calmness is something I hold great value in as a constant goal within the home. It feels like it needs to be on the list.
Respect is something I start with upon meeting someone. I respect everyone at first and then it builds or decreases from there as we get to know one another more. I find value in being respectful but I have a strong desire to build strength within myself to show people the same amount of respect (or lack thereof) that they show me. If my respect for you has decreased, that is usually on a personal level yet I’m very polite to your face. I need to be able to treat others the way they treat me. I go back and forth about that because I always sleep good at night knowing I minded my Ps and Qs. Can’t I learn to sleep good at night treating others the way they deserve to be treated? I don’t know. I guess that’s one of the things that makes me different but maybe I’ll take respect off the value list for now.
Spirituality is another topic I have explored in a prior blog post. Spirituality vs. Religion. I don’t think I will need to write it out to explore it more in detail. I’m taking it off the list. It’s something I find value in. Spirituality and Religion alike are unfortunately something I haven’t found to be a constant or reliable source of comfort or support. While I find it important to believe in something I haven’t found a way to navigate that as a Mother or for my own wellbeing yet. Hopefully this topic can hold more value for me in the near future. I want it to!
Morals. I have them. I have a guilty conscious. I believe in Karma. I find value in having morals. Do my morals guide my choices? This ones hard for me. It’s like I need an example or something. Writing it out isn’t going to help make it clearer, it’s one of the few I may need to actually talk out. If I make myself decide, I already have honesty on the list and they go hand in hand in a way so I will take it off the list. Let me just make this one easy for myself!
So that leaves my addition of Boundaries. Boundaries vs. Calmness. Boundaries are something I’ve been working on for a long time. Calmness is something I need to work harder on within the home and for my child. Boundaries are a good life tool to have. Is it a just a tool or a value, as well? I’m not sure I can just write this one out either to help me see it more clearly. This one may call for a talk it out too. Boundaries help me protect myself. Boundaries help me protect my mental health. Maybe having better boundaries at home would help me remain calm in tense situations. Maybe I wouldn’t be so quick to raise my voice if I had healthier boundaries. Hmm… well looking at it that way makes me lean towards the value of boundaries needing to be the last one added to the list.
There are more I could consider and some mentioned earlier that I don’t have a clear point of view about but I feel pretty good about being able to bring this list back to my counselor. Now the matter of prioritizing my values. Yikes! This will be even harder!!
I’m going to choose Humor as #9 and Fun as #10. It feels like Love should be my #1 value but if that’s true I feel like I’m not doing a good enough job leading with it. Honesty is the real #1 value at this time. Every decision I make is for myself and my husband and son so Family #2. #3 is Stability. Friends #8, maybe?
Let me see…
Does that look right?
It still feels like Love should be of higher value. Am I thinking about this order the right way? Having my Family with me makes me feel Safe, okay so those are in the right order. Having Stability for me and my family makes me feel Safe and so does having Love in my life. Those are all correct being above Safety. I think I need to move Love to #2.
Being Useful and Contributing to whatever it is that you can in your own little world, or in a bigger capacity if possible, feels like it is in the correct spot. I’m calling it a day on this. The rest of it looks pretty close to good.
I can go over all of this with my counselor and reevaluate from there.
Thank you for taking this Value Clarification journey with me! It’s amazing how much better I’m able to process when I write it out. Maybe as I begin to look through the other items my counselor sent to me to work through I’ll need to do the same thing and can take you along on those journeys, as well! Let me know if you enjoyed it.
I look forward to our next visit together!