Do you really know what you value? Not what you think you’re supposed to value, but what you truly value?
It’s a question a lot of us, unfortunately, haven’t really thought through.
And that can leave us in a vulnerable place. Which is why this Values Statement Worksheet is so important.
I realize this may seem a little different than what you usually expect to see on this blog, but it’s really not.
Knowing your values has everything to do with living well on a budget, or otherwise. It’s something that would have helped tremendously when we were struggling to make ends meet.
But let me back up a minute.
I realized I didn’t actually know my own values when I was about 30.
I thought values were simple, big things like honor God, and be kind.
But they’re much more specific, and run much deeper than that.
If you don’t know what you value, how do you know whether something like choosing a job, or pursuing staying home with your kids is the right choice?
I was brought up in a very legalistic community, where you didn’t get to question the values your parents and your church set for you. To do so was, and I know it sounds dramatic, to toy with Hell’s fire.
But after I got married and started experiencing life away from that legalism, I started realizing that I might not actually value everything my parents did, and that left me with questions.
Namely, was that okay, and if I didn’t hold those values, what did I value?
The journey to figuring all that out was not simple.
But ultimately, the answer is, yes, it’s okay if the things you put value on don’t quite line up with an authority figure in your life.
And secondly, you can’t leave a vacuum of abandoning one set of values, but not adopting another. Regardless of how you feel, you do have values. You just need to figure out what those values are.
Knowing what you value lays the foundation for taking uncertainty out of decision making.
Values are the guideposts that inform your day-to-day actions.
Knowing them simplifies saying yes or no – makes it almost automatic, in fact.
Yes, knowing your values can be as simple as having a reason to save money on groceries, but it can also defend you against the pressures of the world’s attempt to foist its values on you.
In our society, we’re taught to value having a big career – bragging rights I suppose.
We value a big house, a nice, car, the best food, name-brand clothes, and the list goes on. But are those the things you want? Are those your values? Or are they the values society, or someone else has imposed upon you?
I wanted to define what, in my life, I valued most, and design my life to honor those things. And yes, honoring God is a driver behind much of what I value.
I think as moms, we feel a constant tension between trying to fit what we honestly value into society’s mold of what is valuable, and frankly, it just doesn’t work.
Instead, we need to figure out what we value, and why, and forget that other opinions even exist, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned recently, it’s that when you know for sure what matters to you, you start caring a whole lot less what other people think of it.
I had a really compelling example of this a few years ago when I took my Motor Cycle Safety class (a prerequisite in our state to getting a class M license).
First, I took a three hour online course and online test a few weeks before the class, then spent a day-and-a-half on a skills course.
And then the instructor said the fateful words “okay, now we’ll break for lunch, and reconvene inside for the written test”.
The what?? I would have sworn the website said there was no written test. I thought the online course was the written test. I had not studied at all, and now, I didn’t have time to study.
I knew that some of the multiple choice questions would give “trick answers” as options.
But I also knew that I’m a person who places a high value on safety, and that if I answered those questions with the safest option, I’d be good. I might get some questions wrong if the wording screwed me up, but I knew I understood motorcycle safety, because I valued motorcycle safety.
And you know what? I ended up being the one person in my class to get a perfect score on my test.
Not because I’m super smart, but because I was the one person who wasn’t looking for trick questions, who wasn’t biting my nails hoping I hadn’t forgotten everything I’d studied, and who instead, was answering from a place of value centeredness – the same values the test writer had in mind when he created the test.
I’m not bragging. Road safety rules are pretty straight forward, and the main reason people miss questions is because they psych themselves out about it beforehand by trying to figure out what they’re supposed to answer rather than asking themselves “what should the answer be?”.
And that’s exactly my point.
So often, when a situation comes up where we have to make a choice, whether it’s in how to spend our time, or our money, or what to read, watch, wear, or pretty much anything else, we make our choice based on how we think we’re supposed to answer, rather than what we should answer based on our personal values.
- Should I spend more time working?
- Should I spend more time with my kids?
- Should I spend more time with my husband?
- Should I read this?
- Should I watch this?
- Should I listen to this?
- Should I take this class?
- Should I say yes or no to this opportunity?
- Should I buy this?
- Should I sell this?
- Should I get up earlier?
- Should I sleep more?
- Should I donate to this charity?
- Should I say yes to this fundraiser?
- What should I prioritize in my daily life?
- What do I want my life to look like in five years?
Those are questions that shouldn’t be answered based on how we think anyone else will feel about them. You are the one who needs to be happy with your answers there.
This has changed the way I view my work, my mothering and homemaking, and I’m always in the process of setting up my life to reflect what I value because of it.
One silly example might be that I value not spending all my time cleaning house during this life season, so I choose to live in a smaller house that takes less time to clean. This is a huge departure from the way I was raised (the bigger the house, the better), but I don’t care if I live in a big house, so why should I care what other people think of me if I choose to live in a smaller one?
Just knowing how I feel about all these things, and how they line up in my stack of values has made a huge difference in the way I live and present myself to the world. I’ve changed from being a desperate people pleaser, to secure enough in who I am to not be offended if my values aren’t your cup of tea.
If you have never sat down and thought really hard about who you are on the inside, and what matters to you, do it.
Don’t do it based on how you want people to see you, don’t do it based on what your mother, friend, or someone online wants you to do.
Do it based on who you want to be, and the legacy you want to leave behind.
It will change your life.
If you find yourself wrestling with knowing for sure what your values are, I encourage you to download download this Values Statement Worksheet and find out.