How to find a balance between your values.
Consciously change your values. You can place love and commitment above freedom so they benefit your lifestyle. Or security above surprise. But my suggestion would be to find a balance between your values so you rarely feel that any one of them is taking over the other.
Setting your values is like setting a destination in a GPS guidance system of your jet airplane. Or setting your compass to true north. By entering in a certain set of values or coordinates, you can make use of a map that will guide you to the location you seek.
A value can also be seen as a set of key words that help to describe specific feelings or emotions that are most important in your life. These values (often seen as emotional goals) which can be subconscious, help you to determine what actions you will or will not take.
For example, you may want a promotion at work, but you‘re not willing to hurt someone else to get it. That‘s a value. Values get to the heart of who we are.
We are constantly thinking of the feelings each value gives us, and in doing so, our brain works hard to guide us in the right direction. You already have this list whether you realize it or not. And as each day unfolds into the next, your brain is constantly on the lookout for choices in life that guide you closer to your values, closer to these keywords, closer to your destination. Ever noticed that sometimes things just ―feel‖ wrong, or ―feel right?
Here is a list of emotional values that might be important to you:
Your brain functions like a search engine and the world is like the Internet. You enter a keyword into Google or Yahoo, hit the enter key and get pages of results that match your key words. You will then sift through the results searching for the answer that best fits what you are really looking for. This is very much the way our brain works with Values.
Our values determine the actions we take, or do not take, in life. And what you value most will determine the outcome (priority) when two strongly held values are in competition with each other.
Incongruence in these values can be at the heart of many problem marriages. If the husband, for instance, values freedom above love and he is searching for that freedom, maybe because something in the relationship is making him feel trapped, this might manifest itself by his not wanting to be touched by his wife when he sleeps. He wants freedom, even freedom from touch. So he turns away, rejects her touch, seeking his freedom unconsciously, but acting it out in the very real marriage bed.
The wife had nothing to do with his reaction or current challenge and doesn’t understand his rejection. But she will begin to question if she had something to do with it. Has she lost her looks? Her sexual appeal? Is he having an affair? The consequences are enormous and can spin out of control.
Perhaps if something else was happening in his life that brought on a need for love or companionship, he would express the positive emotions as well as he did the negative ones. You can imagine what kind of confusing state this would put you in.
If we understand our values, we can come to a healthy and positive solution to our problems, and try to find balance as opposed to running away from them. And if we do need change in order to feel more balanced in our own lives, at least it is good to know why.
The key is understanding the difference between change and running away.
If you have one value in your life that you absolutely cannot live without and it is in competition with a lesser value, then you need change. If you have a value that could be in balance with another, but you choose to jump around satisfying one while sacrificing another, that is running away.
You can usually tell if you are running away if you are not headed toward a positive replacement of a value. Let‘s review an example of running away (negative) and moving towards (positive) values:
Negative – Running Away
You quit your job to support your value of freedom, but without any plan to replace the old job. You will be without security (a competing value). You replace one problem with another. As time passes and you settle into your value of freedom, you begin to discover that money is becoming an issue and you might regret quitting your job. You end up running back and forth on the beam of life constantly throwing yourself out of balance by going to the extreme in each case, like a child on a teeter-totter. Quit the job to get freedom, then get a job for security; rinse and repeat, but never achieving true balance, only instability.
Positive – Moving Toward
A new job opportunity offers more freedom while maintaining some security. Although your core value is freedom, you realize that security is also very high on your list. So you take a job that gives you more of what you need (core value of freedom) while still supplying you with enough security to feel balanced.
Winjitsu Work Out
Make a list of your core emotional values, as we have done on page 115. Be sure to put them in order of priority, or their importance to your happiness and overall state of wellbeing.
Jot down next to each value, a percentage of where you believe you are on the balance scale.
Now make a plan to improve those percentages. If your top priority is at 40%, for example, think about what you can do to raise that percentage, without sacrificing other important values.