Monday, June 22, 2009

A values based life

The quality of events surrounding you in any given moment in time may be reflecting specific beliefs that you hold in that moment of time. Gregg Braden
Last night my eldest daughter, Alexis, and I had a long talk about life and love and what's really going on. It was one of those conversations that, as a mother, I cherish. Throughout our relationship this is what I have wished for, hoped for, worked for, and ultimately, am so grateful for having created. A relationship where we talk of heartfelt things, a connection that is built on shared experiences where our unique perspectives have value and our values are honoured.

At one point in our conversation I suggested to her that she might want to sit down and ask herself, "What are my values?" Those core beliefs that direct her choices and energize her decisions into positive action.

"I value truth, integrity, kindness, equality, wisdom, authenticity." I told her when she asked for clarification. "What do you value?"

It is an important question. If I don't know what I value, how do I value my decisions? How do I measure up to living the life of my dreams?

Understanding my values has been a life long journey for me. When I was in my teens, I valued the wisdom found in books, particularly where they pertained to the mind and psychology. Ayn Rand was my favourite author when I was thirteen. Psychology Today my favourite magazine. In my twenties, my search for the truth about "Who am I?" lead me to make some tough decisions, and yet, lead me forward on my quest to understand the truth about me.

When I became a mother, being authentic was an imperative for me. How could I model authenticity for my daughters if I was living a lie? Who am I when I am authentic was a question I continually asked myself as I struggled to align the life I was living against the values I hold true.

Looking back on my journey, I can easily see those times where my lack of understanding of my values or my willingness to compromise on my values lead to decisions that undermined my personal worth, hurt those I love and kept me from living with integrity.

Living a values based life is imperative if we are to live in harmony with the world around us.

Living a values based life gives me the power to face life's challenges confident in my ability to make decisions that are based on the right thing to do -- without fearing that I'm doing only what's right for me because it's the easiest thing to do.

In my quest to live a values based life I have had to jettison beliefs that do not work for me any longer or that limit my ability to live the life of my dreams. For me, some of those beliefs stem from childhood experiences that were integrated into my thinking -- not because they were true, but because as a child, to comprehend what was going on, I had to make up a story that would help me live with my experiences. Some of those stories shortchange me as an adult. Stories about my lack of self-worth, or my limitations. Stories that would keep me believing I don't deserve love, happiness, peace of mind, a beautiful life. Those stories don't add value to my life -- and they definitely don't align my spirit with the values I embrace today.

It is one of the watershed moments of my life, that place where I stand up for myself, stand true to what I believe in, what I value and say, "Enough letting myself off the hook of being a woman of integrity. Enough giving myself a break in the truth department. Enough giving into my baser elements. It's time to turn up for me and value myself enough to stand true to my beliefs."

Living with integrity is not always the easy thing to do. People and circumstances bombard me with opportunities to give into, compromise or simply appease someone else with what they want to hear, see, do, believe. Giving into someone else's values pulls me from standing in the centre of my 'I' into the winds of change forcing me to bend and give up standing true to myself. When I stand true to my values, I am not at risk of being pulled into the winds that would pull me from my course into someone else's way of being. If we do not share common values, doing it their way will only undermine my sense of worth. And I have had a lifetime of undermining my value. It's my time to value myself enough to live true to who I am without fear that who I am is not enough.

It was a wonderful talk last night. A chance to be open and honest and loving and kind. To be connected to a young woman of great worth and to connect to the values we share, and to find value in our differences. It was a time to honour what makes us great and to celebrate the greatness in each of us.

It was a time to feel blessed by the love we share and to breathe deeply in the value of having created a relationship I have always dreamed of with my daughters.

The question is: What are your values? Are you willing to stand up and be counted for what you believe in? Are you willing to value your worth by doing the right thing, no matter the cost?

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