Geologists use the different layers on a mountain to know more about our planet and how we got to where we are today. These layers, accumulate over millions of years, and are eroded by the elements. Our Core values are the layers of our mountain. They shed light into who we are, how we got here and, what matters to us.
Growing up, parents curate most of our experiences. They help define bottom layers of our mountain, since they’re involved in the majority of our interactions. Keeping an eye on us, making sure we’re safe, follow the rules, and don’t get into much trouble. In adolescence, as we start taking the reins and shaping our personality. Our life gets curated by our first-hand experiences, choices and aspirations. We start consolidating a set of Core Values. They’re a mix our assumptions, experience, interactions, aspirations, and surroundings.
As we grow, we keep on adding more layers to our mountain
Core values gives you a necessary tunnel vision that’s centered around what defines you as a person. You’ll find yourself moving away from anything and anyone that is not aligned with those values.
Several moments were crucial to start thinking about my core values. From time to time, I’d confronted with situations and (re)actions I didn’t understand. It felt as if I’d hit a wall of some sort.
The more I identified these situations, the more uneasy I felt but, at first, I wasn’t able to understand why. While trying to understand why I was so moved by these situations, I decided to write down my core values. This helped me create an inner compass, to which I could go back to whenever in doubt or confronted with a completely new situation. Part of defining your values involves accepting and respecting other people’s values. Which not always are the same as ours.
Being aware of your core values can be a powerful tool, whenever you’re facing a difficult or delicate moment. It’s the power to stop the friend that says it’s OK to skip the line, the power to be honest with yourself and ask for help.
These moments of awareness and conscious evaluation may seem daunting at first. But as you continue to live by your core values, the once stressful choices will become trivial or non-existing. The choices that were most confusing, or scary, will become background noise. Because you’re completely aligned with your inner compass.
Your actions dictate who you are
That’s what is observable from the sidelines. To me, this is a great reminder that everything you do is the reflection of your core values. That’s why I believe it’s so important to reflect on your core values. If you align your core values to become a better version of yourself, that’s what your actions will reflect. No matter what.
My method was to sit down and write the values that were in line with how I wanted to live my life. In line with how I wanted to define myself as a person. But this a personal journey. You might do everything in one sitting or use your daily situations to identify those values.
At the end of the day, the pros outweigh the cons. You end up learning more about yourself, practicing respect and acceptance towards others. You develop a framework that you can use at any time. And you open yourself up to explore what is more connected to who you are. This can mean you get more active and engaged in your community, because you value being of service and empowering others. Or you decide to learn more and share that with the people closest to you, because being curious and open to new ideas is important to you.
It's a personal journey. Take the first step!
Thanks for reading!