Now that you have your marble jar people, you know exactly who you can and cannot rely on. Once you know who you have externally, it’s time to look at who you are internally.
Here’s the thing: abusive people will do their best to convince you that you are worthless, that they are doing you a favor by allowing you the honour of being with them and that you are nothing without them.
What you need to know is that this….this is a LIE. All CAPS. L. I. E.
Anyone who makes you feel this way is the one who isn’t worth your time. People don’t normally go around making people feel like crap. The problem here doesn’t lie with you. It lies with them. This is when you need to know how to call on your personal resources.
Personal resources are the things you have within you. These can be the values that you rely on to keep yourself in alignment when you feel out of control or they could be personal ways of being.
So let’s dig into what a value is. If you don’t know what a value is that is ok. Its a large word with so many different meanings to so many different people. The majority of people I encounter are confused by them as well.
A value is something that you believe is important to the way you live and work. Values are often how you measure how well life is going for you or how you know that your life is going the way you want it to. When you are in alignment with those values you might feel that things are working, things feel good and you are striving for satisfaction and contentment. When you are not living in alignment with your values, this will likely be a source of unhappiness in your life. Take a minute and read that line again. When you live your life out side of the values you hold dear, you will likely be unhappy. Doesnt that make sense?
Before I get into specific values let’s talk about how they help. Regardless of being consciously aware of your value system or not they are present. When you know them however, life can be managed better. Let me explain: when you do not know what your values are and are also not in alignment with them there will still be a natural consequence. Most people will describe an internal stress or conflict. When I talk to my clients about their toxic/abusive relationships I often ask them to think of a time where they were asked to do something that they did not want to do. A reaction to it might have been visceral where their stomach dropped and had an increase in anxiety. This response is that internal stress or conflict. That particular request went against a value they prioritize. Let’s say the value is family and your partner has requested that you not see them as much because they are uncomfortable with your time being divided from them. The internal response will be discomfort.
This internal discomfort and conflict will help you understand your values. It can help you make decisions about how you want to live your life. If the partner from the previous example continues to isolate and have them prioritized it will likely lead to a mental health issue. It can lead to clinical anxiety and depression.
Living within your value system is how you will know what job to pursue, what compromises to work with, what traditions are important to hold on to or even what partner to have. Take the time to understand what your values are so you are able to make these decisions consciously.
The interesting thing about our values is that they tend to be constant over time, although some as we grow they grow and change as well. When we are young adults we might value friends more than money choosing to go party with our friends until the wee hours of the morning even though we have to be at work first thing. As we age they may change (or not) to include family or money.
As you define who you are the values you prioritize also changes. This is why being aware of the values you hold should be a lifelong exploration. Being connected to them will help you understand why there is that feeling of being unbalanced. Maybe that misalignment is what is bothering you.
So how do you figure out your values? It is not difficult. Think back to a time when you were content. What were you doing? How were you with others? Was there something particular that contributed to it? How about when you were most proud? Were you alone in that experience? How about when you felt the most fulfilled or satisfied? Have you ever felt fulfilled?
You will find 9 pages of value cards under the Library page. Print these, cut them out. Read through them and pick out the ones that you identify the most. Be aware that some may overlap in your definition or some may naturally combine to create a different value. An example might be: helping, exploration, compassion which might lead you to believe being in the service of others could be a top value.
Here is a not so secret secret… THERE IS NO WRONG ANSWER!
When you have worked though the list, put them in order of importance. If you need help with how to order them, take them out in pairs and ask “if I can only do one, which would I choose?” Do this until you have your top 5 or 10. After that is done you will want to make sure they fit with your vision of yourself. Do they make you feel good about yourself? Are you proud of the top 3 to 5 values? Are you comfortable sharing them?
Understanding your values is challenging and should be checked in with occasionally as they are part of who you are. They are also a huge part of who you want to be. Being aware of them will offer you direction and help decision making for the future.
An interesting side note to your values is that you can have different values for different environments. What I mean by that is you can have a set of values for how you want to work, how you want your home life to feel, how you want to parent, as well as what you want for your relationships.
Some things in life are really about filtering decisions around what you value most. When in doubt run the decision through the values and they will help you determine the right direction.