An Easy Exercise to Help Identify Your Values.

how to identify values
Picture this.
You’re at a cozy dinner party.
Looking around, you take in in the warm atmosphere.
There is a buzz in the air, a melody that is nostalgic. It’s a familiar song.
Looking around the room. You notice the most important people in your life are here.
Now, take a moment to reflect. Imagine not who you think would be there. But imagine who you want to be there.
Who do you see?
As you hum away at this familiar tune, you notice a close friend stand up and get everyone’s attention. You take a swig of champagne.
Turns out. This is your party. It’s your 80th birthday party.
Boy, how people have aged. You included.
Your closest friend starts speaking. They’re giving a speech about you.
About the person you have been.
About the person you are.
Take a moment to reflect. Who do you imagine speaking?
Then another friend stands and says some words. Perhaps it’s a coworker or a family member.
One by one, each member of the party says a few words about you.
Eighty years, there are a lot of memories there.
Now coming back to the present moment.
When you imagine this scene, what do the members of the party say about you? And not what you think they would say. What you hope – in your wildest dreams – they would say about you.
Be bold. Imagine. Listen to that voice deep down in your heart. What do you hope you would mean to people?
What comes up for you?
Are there any particular themes? How do you feel? It’s common to feel powerful emotions. Joy, love. Sadness, shame, or even anger.
These feelings tell you something.
Bring to mind what you imagined your loved ones saying about you. Recall the themes.
These themes are often values that you hold as important.
What do I mean when I talk about values?
Values are guiding principles that influence behavior and decision-making. In therapy, values play an important role. They help clarify clients’ personal goals and motivations. Values can relate to different areas of life. Such as relationships, career, personal growth, and health.
What’s this got to do with therapy? 
In therapy, patients may clarify and identify their values. Values allow a deeper understanding of what is most important to them. Patients may then make more meaningful and intentional choices in their lives.
For example.
In the exercise, maybe you imagined a loved one saying you are generous and loving. A co-worker said they stayed at the same job because of your close friendship. A friend said you are someone they could always depend on. That you told them the truth, no matter how difficult it was to hear.
These fantasies point to wishes or deep values that you hold.
Now you are thinking about your values. How are you living in line with these values now? Today?
Is there a slight tweak you could make so your behaviour is in line with what you value?
I’m not sure what you imagined. But I can’t stop thinking about champagne corks flying, and the sound of Blur playing. It makes me smile thinking about the stories my friends would tell about all the fun we had.
Hopefully, we have the privilege of aging, while living like the people we hope to become.

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