Monday, February 03, 2020

Why clarify your values?

Yesterday, summing up some key learning  points from Philosophical Life Coaching, I suggested it was a good idea to clarify your values.

One reader then asked me a very good question

"Is there any evidence that clarifying your values is a good thing to do. Couldn't it be neutral or even negative?"

I think Values Clarification is a bit of a misnomer. It should be called values clarification and actualisation -  but that's a bit of a mouthful.

So we need not just to become more aware of our values, we also need to work towards actualising our values.

In the workshop on Saturday, straight after participants had selected a few cherished values, we then looked at how they could bring these values into their lives more. That's where the "value time" idea came up - when you devote 5 minutes a day to one value.

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.” — Lucius  Seneca

That's one justification for values clarification - values provide a compass to steer your life.

The evidence comes from packages which includes values clarification as an element - ACT and certain forms of Behavioural Activation, which have both been found to help with depression.

Of course clarifying your values can sometimes be uncomfortable if you realise that you aren't satisfying them very much. The existentialists had a phrase for this - existential guilt.  Although it may be uncomfortable, it can motivate you to change.

So, remember, when you clarify your values, don't forget to take action as well. 


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