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Values Exploration for Indiviuals, Couples, and Families

March 29, 2019

 

 

When was the last time you sat down and really considered the values that resonate with you most in this moment of your life? Often, we consider values to be the moral standards in which we were raised to honor and esteem. However, our values, or the principles that are important to us, can shift and change with time. As we grow and evolve as a human, it is natural for what values speak to us to evolve and change as well. Some values or principles remain in top-importance throughout our life, but it can be meaningful to consider in this season of your life, what values are really meaningful to you. 

 

I use the following activities for individuals, couples, and families. If you are personally in a season of big change, it can be helpful to identify your top 1-3 values and see how it feels to make choices in alignment with them. It can also provide awareness into why you experience discomfort or struggle in an institution where your top values don't match with the top values of the organization. If you're in a partnership where growth is occurring, and fear might be cropping up, it can be meaningful to understand our decisions and our partner's decisions through the lens of the values they hold dearest at this moment. This exercise has been especially powerful for couples who are beginning to differ in their religious/spiritual beliefs or practices, understanding our loved one's values are leading the way and they might be different than our own can be comforting and lead to really meaningful conversation. One important point to recognize is there is no value more important than another, different does NOT mean deficient. As a family, it can be eye-opening and empowering to see the different values different members hold dear. As a parent, if you know your child values fairness as a top value, it might create a window into better understanding their interactions with other siblings when situations feel unfair. I also love this activity in fostering conversations about different values within a family and what common values do you hold etc.  

 

As mentioned the exercise allows us to see what values are currently the most important and meaningful for ourselves and our partners. Our values shift and change throughout our lives in significance and importance. We often don't actively sit down and identify what values dictate our current behaviors, so this exercise can help us understand ourselves and our loved ones better.

 

Exercise Prompt for Individuals and Couples: 

1. Print out of one of many free values lists, I really like this one from Brene Brown: http://www.balancingwell.com/…/2206…/exercise_valueslist.pdf

2. Circle the top 10 values that really stick out to you as values you connect with

3. Put a star by the top 5 of the 10 values you picked

4. Write the top 5 values down on separate sticky notes and place them on the wall so you and your spouse can see them

5. One at a time, slowly remove two, leaving your top three values on the wall for you, and if you are doing this exercise for your partner to see.

 

Questions to consider individually:

- What contributed to the top 3 values being the values that speak most to you in this moment of your life?

- What does it feel like when you are really honoring those top 3 value, and do you have concrete examples of times where you really honored those values that you can share?

- If you are experiencing changes or shifts in your life currently, how do your values influence those shifts and changes, if at all? 

- What would your life choices, behaviors, and relationships look like if they were in alignment with your top values - would they be the same? would be different? 

- What barriers show up in your life that prevents you from stepping more fully into your values (example, fear, addiction, resentment etc.)

- What would allow you to safely and bravely step into more alignment with your top values at this moment in your life? 

 

Questions to consider if doing exercise as a couple:

- What contributed to the top 3 values being the values that speak most to you in this moment of your life?

- What does it feel like when you are really honoring those top 3 value, and do you have concrete examples of times where you really honored