What do you believe in – truly, truly believe in? When someone asked me I didn’t know how to answer. I didn’t know how to answer because I have never slowed down and thought about it. I have historically always been worried about who other people wanted me to be. I had many things I thought I believed.
I found myself newly sober, fresh off a divorced and without friends or family that still supported me. I went from full time stay at home mom with 4 kids to only having my kids every other week. It was the time to learn about myself – my values – my belief systems. I was determined to make a rainbow from the tornado I ran over my life.
I’m not a huge reader but I read Brene Brown’s “Dare to Lead”. In the book, there was a value exercise. That exercise shifted many things for me.
The exercise has you start with a list of 180 values. You then narrow down to 40, 20, 10, 5 and then 2. Your top two values are typically what is needed to work towards other values. It turned out, my top two values are courage and honesty. In order for me to love, I need to have courage and honesty. In order for me to be patient, I need to have courage and honesty. In order for me to have kindness, I need to have courage and honesty.
Today, when I am in conflict, fear, a standstill, angry, sad, unsure, guilty, shameful (the list could go on), I check in with my core values of courage and honesty. I ask myself am I being courageous and honest?
Having an understanding of my core values allows me to slow down and have a checkpoint for my actions, next move, internal dialogue, effort, and more. I know what my controllables are. I repeat to myself “stay in my own lane and live true to my values”. This helps me everyday.
So often I see women sacrifice their values, don’t know what their values are, or even understand what values are. The definition of Values is something (such as principal or quantity) intrinsically valuable or desirable.
When I reflect on my life today, I am able to see how those values have propelled me to make decisions throughout my sobriety. When I live in my values, I feel authentic to myself and I feel confident in my decision making. My self-esteem has grown significantly and I feel a key component of that is due to living within my value system. Today, I am able to be patient, kind, loving, honest and courageous.