Values are qualities that we believe are important in our life. These qualities can guide us and motivate us throughout our lives. Value can change and they can also shift in priority. They can give our life great meaning as they can guide our actions. When our actions are consistent with our values we can achieve meaning and consequent increases in happiness. If we act in ways that are against our values, we can feel great discomfort and suffering. Suffering can often be created when we have certain values that conflict with each other. I encourage you to look within at your own values and use your values to motivate your actions. Understanding your unique value system is vital in order to use these values to set goals in order to create meaning.

As we move towards developing a rich, full, meaningful life we need to know which pain and discomfort is worth it (as it brings us closer to value-congruent living) and which pain is meaningless and needs to be addressed through understanding and working with the mind. That is, we need to know which times in our lives we need to change the situation and which times in our lives we need to address suffering through mind states alone. Whilst we often know very clearly what we don’t want, we often know little about what we do want.

Identifying your values & what is important to you

What do you value most in life? There are 60 values listed below, rate each area in two ways. First, ask yourself how important this area is to you right now on a scale of 1 (extremely important) to 3 (not important). Then, rate each of the values you classified as a 1 according to your current behaviour. How well you have been living this value on a scale from 1 (extremely well-manifested in my behaviour) to 3 (not at all manifested in my behaviour).

Giving thanks Finding peace Accepting Yourself Being compassionate
Trusting Being loved Loving others Being truthful
Daring to dream Embracing the moment Achieving Admiring
Feeling different Struggling Staying with uncertainty Belonging
Seeking freedom Understanding Appreciating Seeing possibilities
Imagining Being active Creating Forgiving
Being joyful Feeling pleasure Increasing knowledge Letting things be
Seeking wisdom Connecting with others Having security Accepting change
Being flexible Being kind Tranquil mind Satisfaction
Confidence Wealth Simplicity Fun
Reflection Fulfilment Courage Dedication
Honour Having faith Having strength Accepting others
Living authentically Being disciplined Giving Taking responsibility
Being humble Being cautious Taking risks Feeling inspired
Having enthusiasm Taking initiative Being spontaneous Having balance

If you can, try and list the top five values in order of importance.

Identify what values you feel need to be better manifested in your life. You can explore how these values express themselves in different areas of your life such as relationships, family, friends, leisure, education, employment, spirituality, health, well-being. If you can jot down a list of any values that you feel you need to express better in certain areas of your life (e.g. honesty/family, fun/leisure, motivation/employment).

When we reach Positive Action we will then be able to look at your values and determine specific and actions and goals that can be worked towards to bring more meaning into your life.

For now you can use these values to look into areas of conflict or negativity in your life and see how (1) these issues conflict with your values, or (2) you need to make a choice between two important values in your life.