The journey to evaluating and cultivating values does not have to be as daunting as it seems.
One year ago, I had no clear values and no distinct way of understanding what truly mattered to me. I had heard major influencers in my life tell me that values are vital to living a successful life, yet nobody talked about how to define one’s values and align them with one’s passions.
For the longest time, I thought that if we are to live a value-aligned life, we needed to be vegan, minimalist, yogi, health-obsessed, and travel a lot to promote a message. It was silly to think this for such a long time, right?
As ridiculous as it sounds, I had never explored the idea of values more because I was afraid to. I was terrified that new and refined values would change me as a person, and that I might lose people or things in my life, or have even lost opportunities. I was anxious that having quality values would create a different life for me—but what I didn’t realize was that having real, tangible values would change me and mold the best version of myself that I have ever presented to the world.
When I began to research values, I originally wanted to adopt the values that other people had, instead of curating my own. I tried being vegan for a few months because everyone else was doing it. I attempted to be a fitness enthusiast because the models on Instagram had beautiful canvases. It got to the point where I even asked my parents if I could borrow the car for a few weeks so I could go on a road trip that I hadn’t planned out.
After my parents had declined the idea for the road trip (rightfully so), I realized that none of these things that were attempted were for me. None of these “values” had stuck with me, because I wasn’t doing them for the right reasons. These experimentations were because I was feeling pressured to be someone I was not—no, am not. I felt the pressure to have multiple values all at once, when in reality, values take time to cultivate.
This last year has been filled with genuine, intentional research to see what my values are. It started with an idea of what I cared about. My faith, the earth, animals, and my body. The next thing I had to do was see what could be done in my personal life to ensure that I was aligning with the things that I valued and cared about. It’s that simple! I wish someone had told myself earlier on that living a value-aligned life was so much easier than I ever thought it could be.
I may not be a wholehearted vegan, doing yoga every day, or doing everything I can to save the animals or earth. Regardless of this, I am taking steps to becoming the person I have always wanted to be and living the value-filled, value-aligned life I have always dreamed about.