Previous: Self Esteem
In order to create a life that suits you, it's important to know what's really important to you. Find out what your passions, interests and preferences are. These are called 'personal values'. Friendship can be very important, but also children, money, power or justice.
There are hundreds of personal values, and thousands of things one can find important. Some personal values are like a silken red thread throughout life. The importance of certain values can change over time. Young people value having fun a lot, young parents consider family life to be most important, and perhaps spirituality becomes more important when getting older.
Most people know more or less what they consider to be important in life, but they find it hard to put this to words. It's worthwile trying though, since you need to know exactly what your personal values are, in order to arrange your life in the most optimal way.
What do you want?
Some people know exactly what they find important. But this isn't the case for everyone. Perhaps the things you once thought were important, are no longer fitting. People that still pursue the things they wanted when they were twenty, often get stuck at fourty. There also are a lot of people that think they know what they want, while actually it doesn't make them happy.
Do you think you like to help others? Ask yourself whether you're actually helping others because it really interests you. Many people are afraid of being rejected, if they're not helping others. Let me give you another example: does your career really satisfy you, or do you think negatively about yourself, and do you want to prove yourself?
People that let their fears and frustrations lead them, are constantly trying to close a hole in their hearts. It's like carrying water to the sea: it's useless, it's never enough and it continues forever. It doesn't make you happy, at the most it prevents you from being unhappy.
Fears and frustrations, like fog, can cover your real personal values. They mask what really interests you and makes you happy. Choose authentic values. Authentic values give energy and a genuine feeling of happiness and satisfaction.
To be happy, you need to discover your authentic personal values. What do you find attractive, fascinating and important in your heart? You'll have to recognise and accept possible fears and frustrations. Some of those stem from one's youth. Many parents couldn't satisfy their child's need for attention, emotional security, love, comfort or help. Didn't you get what you emotionally needed in your youth? Take a good look at yourself, and accept this.
You won't be feeling any better by pursueing a career, or always helping others. Only when you recognise and accept this, you can to what is most fitting for you, and become truly happy.
Almost everyone has certain fears and limitations. Some are afraid they won't be able to deal with something, some think they lack determination, others have health concerns, are low on energy and always feel tired. Because of these kind of things, perhaps you don't see clearly what you'd like to do most of all, and do you limit yourself to things that don't really matter.
Physical or mental limitations are of course annoying, but many people give up too easily, they think they won't succeed anyway. The consequence is they don't take up the challenge, held back by fears that aren't real. Try to determine how real your fears really are. Aren't you exaggerating? What is the worst that could happen. Does the world fall apart, or isn't it as bad after all? Think about what you could do if things do go wrong. This way, your fears will diminish, and you'll dare to do what your really want.
Discover your personal values
In the past as well as in the future there are clues to your personal values.
Think about the moments in your life when everything felt just right. Try to picture these moments. Where were you, with whom, what were you doing?
Do these moments have something in common? Do they share certain values? These might very well be your personal values, the silver red thread throughout your life.
Imagine yourself at your eightiest birthday. Family members or friend have organised a party for you, to show you how much they love you. Each person is telling something about your life.
What would you like them to tell? How would you have people look at you? How do you want to be remembered? Would you like to be able to say you've seen a lot of the world? Would you like to have written a book? Would you like to be remembered for your help of handicapped people?
Make a top 5 of your personal values, the most important one at the top.
Examples of personal values
variation, helping others, balance, satisfaction, creativity, expertise, honesty, recognition, equality, money, ease of mind, health, harmony, intellectual challenge, knowledge, art, love, power, environment, music, independance, prestige, relationships, beauty, spirituality, sport, status, challenge, peace, friendship, liberty, security, self expression, self realisation, ...