How To Discover Your Valid Values – And Why

Consciously choosing the values you want to shape your life and then taking steps to base your actions on your values leads to joy, contentment, and feelings of well-being.

your valid values

Facing A Choice

It was date night for Martha and her husband and she had been looking forward to it all week; an evening when they could pay attention to each other and re-connect. But at 4:00 PM, her boss came to her with a problem that needed her attention. If she resolved this issue, it would be a feather in her cap and add to her chances for a promotion.

David has the opportunity to take an online class, paid for by his company, that would improve a key skill. But the class is every Saturday morning for two months – the same time he usually reserves for his two young children.

Allen got a substantial raise. He is having a difficult time choosing between increasing his contribution to his retirement account or buying a new car he’s had his eye on for a while.

We are faced with decisions every day. And occasionally they are hard ones to make. It helps to consider our values when we make the hard choices. Thus it is useful to know what our values are.

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The Sand In The Oyster

Change your perspective and the way you think about and deal with irritations and you can transform your behavior from reacting in anger and frustration to responding mindfully with love. Choose your response to irritations with care.

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way. The way we learn those lessons is not to deny the feelings but to find the meanings underlying them.” ~ Stanley Lindquist

Making Pearls

Have you ever admired an exquisite pearl necklace, each lustrous pearl perfect in shape and shimmering iridescence? Do you know how pearls are made? Natural pearls are created when an irritant, a grain of sand or bit of stone, gets inside the shell of a mollusk. The mollusk reacts to the irritant by coating it with a substance to reduce the irritation.

Over time, as layer upon layer is added, a pearl is formed. The source of a natural pearl is irritation. The mollusk responds to the irritation by creating something of beauty and value.

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What You Focus On Expands

Caring people live in a caring world. Loving people live in a loving world. Mean people live in a mean world. Grouchy people live in a grouchy world. It’s the same world . . . what you focus on expands.

“In fact, I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. . . Even when I want to do right, I cannot. Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong.” ~ Romans 7: 15, 18b-19 [Bible Gateway]

Three Riders On The Subway

Things were not going well at work. And, if I were truthful with myself, things weren’t going well in my life, period. Much like the apostle, Paul, even when I wanted to do what is right, I didn’t do it.

I scanned the subway cars, looking for one that was near empty. In my foul mood, I really didn’t want to be around anyone. I spotted a car that had only 3 people in it. Shoulders slumped, head down, I stepped in, not making eye-contact with any of the others, moving to a seat as far away as I could get.

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Strengths In Adversity

Drawing on character strengths, and especially our Signature Strengths, gives us tools to deal with adversity and grow, even thrive (i.e., become “antifragile”), from the process. Using strengths in adversity provides three distinct techniques to positively deal with set backs, glitches, and failure.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But it almost kills you.” ~ Conan O’Brien

Opportunity Or Adversity: A Good Time To Use Your Strengths

I typically think about using my Signature Strengths to enhance positive emotions and experiences. But in addition to using them when life is going well, a person can draw on Signature Strengths during the hard times and difficulties of life. In fact, using strengths in adversity may be one of the most beneficial ways to live from your Strengths.

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Excelerated Self-Care™ — taking excellent care of yourself — is a self-full act. You must care for yourself if you are to be of service to others. You cannot give what you do not have.


Carol [*] felt like she was on the edge of a precipice where she might plunge over at any moment.

She was bone-tired. She climbed into bed exhausted every night. And she woke up exhausted every morning. It was all she could do to drag one foot, then the other, to plop on the floor.

On top of the chronic exhaustion, Carol never felt well. She had a dull, throbbing headache much of the time. Her mouth was dry, her skin was dry, her hair was lackluster and dull. Her stomach burned. She couldn’t remember the last time she felt really good.

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Wishin’ And Hopin’

Our goals and aspirations generally fall into two categories – what we say we want and what we really want as shown by our actions. What do your actions say that you want?

“Just wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’ . . .” ~ Wishin’ And Hopin’ by Dusty Springfield

Actions Speak Louder . . .

“I’m very dependable; you can count on me,” my friend told me at lunch one day. She did not see the irony in the fact that she had been 10 minutes late that day and had been late the last two times we met. I did what I usually do in those situations — I smile and nod and then watch to see if the actions suit the word. “Who you are speaks so loudly,” said Emerson, “I can’t hear what you are saying.”

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