When people try to figure out their values it can be confusing.
In my experience of working with clients, the most useful values are typically really simple ones that guide your actions in a helpful direction in lots of different situations.
One of my favorites is “communicating clearly”.
The way I think of the concept of values is that your values are behaviours you strive to always enact regardless of:
1. how you’re feeling at the time (emotion factors), and
2. situation factors, like how other people are behaving (e.g. you strive to enact your value of communicating clearly with your partner, regardless of their behaviour)
If you choose “communicating clearly” as one of your values then the idea is to do this
– even when you’re angry (emotion factor)
– even when you feel awkward about how to express yourself (emotion factor)
– even when you feel hopeless or powerless (emotion factor)
– even when someone else is being difficult (situation factor)
– even when you’re scared (emotion factor)
– even when you’re tired (situation/emotion factor)
– even when you’re busy (situation factor)
Always enacting your values can seem like a big ask, and it is. There is no way you will be able to do it perfectly. In fact one of the most useful aspects of understanding your values is that when something is going wrong for you, you can ask yourself if there are any values you’re not doing a good job of enacting that you could use to try to improve the situation.