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Values: Why Do They Matter & How To Find Them?

Let me ask you this question: What makes you angry? What really triggers you? Is it people lying? Loud noise? Racism? Think of something you just cannot get on board with.

Go ahead, name them.

Now find the opposite of those. Lying vs Honesty, Loud Noise vs Calm Injustice vs Fairness.

You have just identified some of your values.

Now, what happens when your values get stepped on? You get triggered as one of your values are not being met. You are not at ease, you get uncomfortable.

Let’s imagine a team working together where everyone is crystal clear on their values and have communicated them to everyone in the group. They have agreed, together, which values are the top ones to respect and honour. Wouldn’t that make their interactions much smoother?

That’s exactly what you can do for your family right now.

When you are clear on what it is you value most as a family, it can help you make day-to-day and big-picture choices, and reduce partnership conflict. It’s part of understanding who you really are and who you truly want to be as a family.

Many values are important to all of us. But getting clear on your core values means choosing the ones you value above others. Explore!

That Friday lunch with the wider family: Do  both you and your partner value it? Are you just going along, thinking it’s important for your partner while you would prefer doing something else?

Sustainability at home: Is it super important to your partner, but you haven’t been able to keep up, and that has been a trigger in your relationship?

Extracurricular activities for the kids on the weekend: Do we value the kids’ development in various areas more than we value time spent together? Should we shuffle the schedule around to prioritize our needs and values?

Here’s how you can start finding your top core values - consider it a date night. 

Get together with your partner, find a list of 100+ life values (quick Google Image Search) and print one paper for each of you. 

1. From the list, choose and circle every value that resonates with you. 

Don’t overthink your selection. As you read through the list, simply write down the words that feel like a core value to you, personally. If you think of a value you possess that is not on the list, write it down.

2. Group the similar values you’ve circled together. 

Group them in a way that makes sense to you, personally (for example: Trust, Loyalty, Honesty - grouped together). Create a maximum of five groups. If you have more than five groups, drop the least important group(s).

It might be hard to decide! But remember there are no wrong answers. Choosing your core values doesn’t mean you don’t have other values too. But your core values help you to drive your vision and make choices about what’s most important to you.

3. Choose one word within each group that represents the label for the entire group. 

Again, do not overthink your labels – there are no right or wrong answers.  You are defining the answer that is right for you.

4. Add a verb to each value label. 

You can now see what it looks like as an actionable core value. For example: Live in freedom. Act with mindfulness. Promote well-being. Spread happiness. This will guide you in the actions you need to take to feel like you are truly living with purpose.

5.  Finally, compare your lists and agree on a list that is common for the family. 

You will continue to respect your own and your partner’s values, individually, but when it comes to making a decision for the family, you can go back to this common core family values list.

To remind yourself of your values, post your  list where you can easily see them when faced with decisions. How about on the fridge?

Written for Kidzapp by Parenting Coach, Pascale. Follow her on @parenting.moments