A quick way to better understand your core values
A quick (and accidental) way to better understand your core values
They say that every cloud has a silver lining, and here’s one that you might not expect. When something really annoys you deeply, in a way that seems a little disproportionate, you are not necessarily overreacting.
Sure, the people around you might ask “why is this upsetting you so much?”, but the insight they are missing is that when something really pushes your buttons, that can be simply because it’s clashing with one of your core values.
Many people don’t fully know what their core values are – it’s not really something we are taught about at school! As adults they are usually something we either figure out on the way, and some of you may work on understanding yours if you are into personal development.
The trick to using an annoying situation for good is to take a wider perspective on it – meaning, rather than focussing on what is upsetting you, focus on why it is upsetting to you. This is not about why it would be upsetting to people in general, but specifically what is it that you are the most bothered by.
How about an example to give you some context?
Perhaps you can think of a time that somebody owed you money and paid you back later than agreed. That would really grind anybody’s gears, right? So where do values come in?
If you are upset that the money was late because that makes you feel terribly insecure about your finances, the value that was offended here was security.
However, although being put in a tough financial spot, if the thing that most annoyed you about the debt being repaid late was that they didn’t return your emails about it, then your value here is communication.
It may be very important to you to communicate, and to be communicated with. When others don’t communicate, this is clashing with a core value of yours.
Another possible value for this scenario could be fidelity; people not doing what they said they would do, when they agreed to do it by. Do you see how this works?
Although the things that grind your gears will always be things that bother you, when you take this perspective you are also learning about yourself through these experiences.
Understanding your core values is really useful for a whole range of life decisions, from choosing a new job or hiring staff for your own company, to choosing what kind of holiday to have. Maybe freedom and adventure are core values for you – so could you work that into your holiday plans and make it the best trip you ever take?
If you aren’t sure what your core values are, then try looking back at those experiences in your life that have bothered you the most. Take your focus off what bothered you, and think about why it did.
It’s a great way to get a better understanding of what’s important to you.