Ever sat down and tried to identify your personal values? I don’t mean the values you’re supposed to have, or the values handed to you from your church, family or workplace. Are you happy with your personal values?
So many of us are guided by implicit values injected into our psyche by our environment, or stuffed down our throats by the media. I love the ancient Greek aphorism inscribed at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi: “Know thyself.” This is a primary truth, a truth that is so essential to understanding your world and how you engage it. We meet the world through the lenses of our values. Do you know what your values are?
Your values are like your operating system. They unconsciously guide your choices every single day. A values inventory is a worthwhile exercise because it enables you to see the operating system behind the machine. Sometimes changes need to be made to the operating system. Sometimes it just needs to be celebrated.
This past year I evaluated, audited and edited my personal values. While they are incomplete, they show the high points of who I am, the major intersections in my web of being. Here they are:
inspiring: I will help others see possibilities and move them to change.
pure: I will seek to have a clean heart and mind.
innocent: I will envision the world each day as though I am seeing it for the first time.
dreamer: I will see the impossible rather than embrace the acceptable.
God: I will live in full dependance and devotion to God.
faithfulness: I will keep the covenants and commitments I have made – with joy.
adventurous: I will play, explore, laugh out loud, and roll on the floor.
respect: I will treat all humans with dignity regardless of race, gender or religion.
love: I will live and act in the best interest of those around me.
truth: I will have fierce conversations, each garnished with a dollop of frivolity.
integrity: I will live in such a way that my private life will reveal no surprises to my public audience.
desire: I will embrace and enjoy simple pleasure – food, wine, song and dance – but not abuse them.
After some soul searching and different drafts, what you see is the finished work. May they define who I am and who I am becoming.