My last post asked the question, who are you? as well as the question what do you do?
These are two questions I've been asked myself a lot recently as I've been meeting new people and I've experimented a bit with my answers ranging from the fairly boring name and job response to the more esoteric or existential (wanky) response.
And what I've noticed is that it doesn't really matter what you say. What matters is that it's authentic. And what lies behind authenticity is that who you are and what you do are in some way aligned. And for that to happen depends on your values.
I realised that knowing our values is really really crucial to both who we are and what we do.
If we don't really know who we are, we can't really be sure of our values in life. And if we don't know our values in life, how on earth can we decide what we're going to do? Or what we're supposed to be doing?
I would be willing to bet that if we rounded up all the people who feel in some way dissatisfied with life, or unhappy in their job, or in some way out of kilter with those around them it will be because they haven't consciously identified their values, and if they were to identify their values they would find them at odds with what it is they've ended up doing.
I'm also willing to bet that if we rounded up all the people who felt uncomfortable about their behaviour in some way or on some particular occasion and we examined what happened and why, we'd find the same thing. That they were behaving in a way out of line with their values.
I can say this quite confidently because I can recognise it in myself and have observed it in others. You'll be able to too. You know those times somebody does something really cringey or embarrassing, something that makes the room feel really awkward and uncomfortable? That's somebody not being authentic to themselves or their values. I bet.
So what are your values? are you living and behaving in accordance with them? Do you really know? Have you ever even considered it before?
It sounds a bit lofty doesn't it? A bit too hard? But it's easy really. Ask yourself, what is it that's going well for you at the moment? What would you like to do more of? Then think about why you gave the answers you gave, what's significant about them for you....you'll find your values somewhere in there if you look properly.
I have a confession. I haven't entirely worked this out for myself yet. Specifically. (Thank goodness really, it'd be a pretty boring blog about self discovery and my quest for happiness if I already had all the answers wouldn't it!). But I know roughly where I'm headed and I know when I've gone wrong because it feels horrible. I'm going to have a good old think about this properly though and it'd be great if you'd join me and share your thoughts below.
and we'll know if you're not being authentic!