Core values are the fundamental pillars to who you are, what drives you, and how you see the world. We each have different variations of values, whether they were socialized into us or self-created along the way or both. I’m not talking secondary values like eats healthy, values music, I’m talking about the deep core of who we are. Yes, secondary values are important, though this article is focused on the inner depths of our very beings.
I was recently asked what my core values were and as I quickly rattled them off, I realized how present I keep them in the forefront of my every day mind. How I am constantly assessing my actions against my core values, my relationships against my core values, and so forth. I live by my values and I really believe that fundamental choice is what has brought me the most joy and content in my life. Do I have bumps, sure, um last year, um being an entrepreneur, but I don’t let that impact my hope, my love for life, or my love for myself. I accept the road I’m on, I take accountability that I made choices that led me here, I was given a hand, but everything else was up to me, and each decision I make is careful, methodical and weighed against my values. This also allows me to live without regret, which brings tremendous inner peace.
Authenticity is at the core of who I am and how I approach the world. For better or for worse, I will always be me. With this as an important value, it inherently drove me to significant self-exploration to know who I am at my very core so I can be that person in my actions. I don’t hide behind society’s cultural norms, sure I might soften my comments every now and then, but I don’t subscribe to anyone else’s way of being. I am me, no matter how odd or unusual or unpopular that might be at times, I am still me. This is why I struggle greatly with people that wear a mask or are two faced, especially those that put on a different (perhaps more charming) persona to get what they want (ego stroke, freebies, etc.)
This is somewhat related to authenticity as it’s difficult to be authentic if you aren’t honest with yourself and honest with others. To be honest with yourself, it requires the ability to dig deep down inside you, confront yourself, question your actions and be honest and objective with who you are. This also requires the ability to accept yourself and your decisions, to be open to looking at your flaws. It means not lying to yourself to make yourself feel better, not lying to others to make them feel better or to cowardly hide from confrontation. It means having the courage and strength to always do what’s right. This is why with the exception of the one weak man I dated in NY, I only date strong men, men with integrity.
Just like integrity built upon authenticity, accountability builds upon integrity. In order to be accountable we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to face the facts of reality, to recognize the role we played and own up to it. It requires a resilience and strength to do this as it’s easy to say a difficult relationship is all one person’s fault or how life’s just dealt you a bad hand or how there’s nothing you can do anything to better your situation. All of those are victim statements, ones that say I’m not accountable, these things just happened, it’s not my fault. It is very difficult to reach inner peace and self-love without seeing the role you play and taking charge of your life.
This is fairness in all your actions. Doing what’s right. To be truly fair, it requires a bit of the above values. Giving your kids roughly equal attention / gifts. Being fair with your spouse or partner to make sure the load balance of responsibility and fun activities are fairly split. If your customer complains, being fair in how you resolve the issues. It really comes down to being able to look at your point of view, their point of view, and where the middle is that both parties get equal value from the equation. To do this requires empathy, understanding and ability to see the bigger picture and assess value from another person’s perspective.
I think it’s easy to say relationships matter and I hear that a lot then I watch those same people put themselves first or work late all the time or make decisions that take them further from their relationships. I want to take it a step further and say my core relationships are at the corner stone of my very existence. Not for what I gain from them, I don’t need ego strokes or people to help me or solve my problems or people to blame when life doesn’t go my way. It’s about the connection and bond, being part of something much larger than myself. Unconditional, unwavering love. If our lives intersected and they subscribe to the same values, we are a kinship like no other. No space, no time, no anything can disrupt the connection.
I think it’s important in anyone’s journey to happiness to really look at what their core values are and make sure they are living by them. This goes along with my earlier blogs about living a life of no regrets. I think they all go hand in hand. The less authentic and accountable we are, the more we feel victims of all these awful things that keep happening, which is a very depressing outlook. It’s helpless and debilitating. It’s also not true. No one said it was easy to look at the positive, to look for the ways we can improve things, and to take the bull by the horns. Though when you do, it is amazing how different life becomes.