Defining My Life Values
I have been reading (listening to) Brene’ Brown’s book and she talks about choosing your values. She says you should narrow it down to 3 values that are the core of your being. (I’m para-phrasing here, I highly recommend you read any of her books.) Of all the values she lists in her book, the three I gravitate to are courage, gratitude and balance.
Courage - this is a tough one for me. It’s much easier to hide, stay safe, stay alone. The emotions that make you truly feel alive, good or bad, only come from having the courage to live. Not just breathing, but experiencing life. Taking risks, exposing yourself, feeling the pain, feeling hope and joy and love with the knowledge that it could be ripped away in a moment. That’s courage. It is at the very center of everything good in your life; a friendship, romance, job, a moment or inspiration. It can also be the cause of heartbreak, humiliation, disappointment and aloneness. You can’t have the good without the risk, and inevitabley, of having the worst. When the worst comes, I need to congratulate myself for having the courage though.
Gratitude - I am not an “Everyday is a great day”, “the Glass if Half Full”, “I am Wonderfull and Beautiful and I Love Myself”, person. Every day is not a great day. Some days suck. Sometimes I do things I shouldn’t be proud of and sometimes I just feel fat and ugly because I haven’t been taking care of myself. To Kidd yourself into believing everything is Wonderfull and cheery is not sustainable. Your brain knows better.
Years ago when I was much younger, I was always happy. I should rephrase that. I wasn’t always happy but I always acted happy. I always smiled at everyone and laughed at their jokes and agreed with everything they said to me. A lot of people loved me just for that reason. What’s not to love? The problem is, when I crashed, I crashed hard. It was a depression I never want to feel again. It was a gut wrenching, soul sucking, physically painful, please take this away at any cost, suffering. If you have never been through it, you will never understand it. You don’t have to believe every day is sunny, you just need to see the good side of rain.
Gratitude is appreciating the good side. That isn’t to say there isn’t going to be a bad side or the good side is always going to outweigh the bad. It also doesn’t mean you ignore the bad side. It just means you appreciate the good side for what it is.
Balance - I honestly don’t know if this was one of her values she lists, but it is a strong one for me and honestly, one of the toughest ones I struggle with. I am an all in kind of guy. This website is a good example. I started this website and I have spent a lot of my time on it. It is all encompassing. But that isn’t sustainable. If history serves insight, I will burn out on it within a couple weeks and stop writing on it. I will come back to it occasionally, but it will be what it is today.
My work is the same way. I am all in or ready to bail. For Cruise Planners, I am spending all my free time on it or ready to call it a day. When I meet someone, they are all I can think of, or over it. If I am worried about something, I will wake up at night thinking about it. If I start a workout, I am all in, every day, hours a day and then the first time I can’t make it, that’s it. I am an all in kind of guy until I realize I can’t be all in and then I give up. I need the balance that allows me to focus on work when I am at work and focus on play when I am at play and allow for a little time to write, a little time to create these sites, time for family, absolutely time for Cash (my Dog). It is about balance. Everything I do should be weighed against an ultimate scale of life.
The reason I am listing these here is to hold myself accountable for living these values every day. It takes a couple weeks for anything to become natural so for the next two weeks I want to write on this each day and determine if I lived my values or not. That can be taking the initiative to talk to someone, making that call I would have been nervous to make before, hearting someone on the app and actually talking to them if they respond, going to the gym even if I feel uncomfortable, not obsessing on anything in particular and spreading my time to everything that is important, and appreciating all of it along the way. When I say feeling gratitude, I think that also include expressing that gratitude to those around me that I am grateful for.