Values are what is important to you; the guideposts by which you’ll make decisions. They are qualities that reflect who you want to be in the world. When we make decisions that take into account our values, we are more congruent and will feel more connected to ourselves. We experience greater fulfillment when we live by our values,
The decisions we make and our behaviours are based on and reflect our values. When we use our values to make decisions, we focus on what is important to us—what we need to feel a sense of well-being.
As parents, we can’t always be there to guide the decisions our children make. The values we impart to our children are what will lay the foundation for the kind of people our children become. They are a map for how we want to be as a family. “In our family, we are kind – we use our words and don’t hit others.”
Examples of values include:
- Respecting others
- Spending family time
- Service to others
- Being outdoors
There is a difference between values and beliefs which can be summed up as, “Values unite. Beliefs Divide.”
Beliefs are assumptions we hold to be true. When we use our beliefs to make decisions, we are assuming the causal relationships of the past, which led to the belief, will also apply in the future. In a rapidly changing world where complexity is increasing day by day, using information from the past to make decisions about the future may not be the best way to support us in meeting our needs.
Beliefs are contextual: they arise from learned experiences, resulting from the cultural and environmental situations we have faced. Values are not based on information from the past and they are not contextual. Values are universal. Values transcend contexts because they are based on what is important to us: They arise from the experience of being human.
An example of how values unite and beliefs divide is spirituality. Spirituality is a value that many people hold; however, some people may believe in a particular god, while others find their spirituality in another god or in nature.
How are emotions linked to values? Why is teaching our kids emotions and self-awareness important?
We need to feel and listen to our emotions for them to tell us, and sometimes remind us, what our values are. Big emotions will tell us what we really care about.
For example, when I feel sad that I am not spending time with my children, my sadness tells me my value of connecting as a family is out of alignment and I pay particular attention to how I am spending my time. I might decide to cancel or postpone an afterwork meet up with a friend so that I can reconnect with my family.
Grief is the emotion that expresses love and value for what is being lost. It points directly to what we care about the most. We feel grief when someone or something we value is lost.
Anger, in its balanced expression, is the emotion that gives us the strength and courage to say “No!” in the face of violation. Anger may be pointing us to deeply held values that are being violated. Values like protecting the environment and women’s rights are values that people are motivated by anger to fight for.
If you are interested in learning more about values and exploring what your family values are, contact me at 604-733-8409 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out when the next Family Focus workshop is happening.