Am I normal? Am I unique? We want to be both.
Today’s Wisdom Bite about core values starts with the essential need we all have to feel normal, to feel we belong. We want to know we’re accepted by others and not alone in our journey through life. At the same time, we have a Soul-level need to know there’s something unique within us. Something at our core that can unleash our natural gifts and talents in a way that makes a difference in the world. We want to know that who we are and who we’re becoming – through every trial, tribulation and triumph – matters. My promise to you? The person you uncover will be the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted. Even better than chocolate.
Your authentic self – who you are at your core – has no need for excess weight…
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Here’s what you need to know
Your authentic self – who you are at your core – has no need for excess weight. Nor does that version of you have any preoccupation or obsession with weight. Unfortunately, most of us got the memo that said to belong, we must behave a certain way, have a great career, marry the right person, weigh an acceptable amount, etc. And so we began to conform to these ideals to get the validation we were seeking.
This outward persona we constructed then became who we thought we were. It started eclipsing our real needs. Living this kind of life, where you can’t be yourself, consumes a lot of energy and takes you out of alignment with your core values. If needs are the signposts along your path for you to pay attention to, core values are the path itself. Ignore either and you’ll lose your way quickly.
- How do you know if you’re out of alignment with your core values? You’ll probably feel it long before you realize it. If it’s a small misstep, you might feel restless, irritable or have trouble sleeping. Like something’s ‘not right’. If you’re seriously off course, you might feel listless, constantly angry or even depressed, wondering “Is this all there is to life?” How do I know this? Because that was the version of me staring back in the mirror for years before I found my way. Regardless, if you’re reaching for food to get through those feelings or to fill that void, that’s a big clue you’re out of alignment.
- What if you think you’re aligned but you still have excess weight? Maybe you’re happy with some changes you’ve made in your life (e.g. an important relationship, a career relaunch) but the excess weight is persisting. You’re likely underestimating what it means to fully align with your core values. For example, a value of kindness might be something you express easily towards others. But can you equally receive kindness from others? And more crucially, can you give and receive kindness within yourself? Until your values are expressed these three distinct ways in your life, you’re not fully aligned with them. There’s more to learn, practice and express.
- Who will you be if you let go of who you think you are? Think of the people or situations in your life where you’re not completely relaxed. Chances are there are expectations and judgements you’re bumping into with them and you’re hanging on to your persona. But what if you were to show up knowing yourself so deeply, that no person or situation could dictate who you are and what you have to offer the world? This is what living and breathing your core values affords you – a recognition of your uniqueness and an honouring of your essence. You want to feel this regularly, if not daily.
Every choice you make that aligns with who you are at your core, sheds another layer of your persona to reveal your authentic self. This slow stripping away of your former self has its challenges. It requires humility and patience. But it’s also incredibly satisfying as you begin to redirect all that energy towards your bigger life. It’s why a quick fix for weight loss can change your body but it can never tap into these deepest parts of you or address your deepest yearnings.
Eventually, everyone comes to a similar conclusion – we deserve to be accepted and loved for who we really are. This might be a foreign concept to you right now but I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a beautiful one.
Here’s what you can practice
It’s tempting to do a Google search for ‘core values’, find an exhaustive list and cherry-pick what sounds good. But you would be at risk of choosing the values that reflect your outward persona. I recommend using a story-based method to surface your true values, by considering one high point and one low point in your life. By point, I mean an event or episode in your life, not a stage of your life. The more specific the point, the easier it is to surface the values associated with it.
High and low points sear into memory because your values were either being honoured or dishonoured at those times. A high point might have been an experience of amazement, wonder, joy…or perhaps a deep sense of peace, calmness, richness…or maybe time stood still. Where did your mind go first? Trust that’s the story you need. A low point might have had a sense of frustration, upset, anger…or sadness, grief, despair…or involved a situation where you felt restricted or held back in some way. Again, where did your mind go first?
Now flesh out these two stories with as much meaning and emotional detail as you can recall. If that vacation to Hawaii was a high point, ask yourself what made it so wonderful? Was it the ‘freedom’ you felt from work? The ‘beauty’ of the scenery? The ‘adventure’ that each day brought? If that last job was a low point, consider what made it so difficult? The lack of ‘support’ or ‘understanding’? Maybe someone betrayed you? Values are always positive, even if surfaced through a low point. Simply take the negative word and consider its opposite: a betrayal experience becomes a value of ‘loyalty’.
By the time you’re done, you might have 15-30+ values to play with. Cull them to a prioritized list of 10. This collection of words is what I call your ‘core value mix’ and it’s as unique as a snowflake. Now sit back and take them all in. This is you, on paper, the delicious person I promised. Mmm, are you salivating a wee bit?
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How did it go for you?
Articulating your core values is clarifying. The work of course, lies in aligning with them now and here’s why that matters. Consider the most memorable person you know or admire. What stands out about them to you? What you’re recalling is their essence, not their weight. Give others the honour and privilege of getting to know who you are at your core.
Choose one of your core values and share it in the Members-Only Comments section below. Tell us why it’s important and meaningful to you.
Help us help you get fascinated with expressing who you really are.
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Conscious Weight Loss®
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I actually did the exercise twice. I misunderstood the ask and prioritized my top 9 values based on how I think I am perceived today, that is, what resonated most with me. After re-reading the assignment I re-assessed my top 9 based on who/what I want to show to the world – how I want to show up. To my surprise, the lists are identical except for one. Huh. How about that!
This suggests you’re living closer to your authenticity than you may be giving yourself credit for. Remember too, values are 3-way (you want to express these to the world, receive them from the world AND express/receive them within yourself) to fully honour them.
My top core value is Responsibility….as in taking ownership of situations. If something is important, be the one to make sure things are being handled. Don’t wait for or expect somebody else to do so. If something goes wrong, don’t engage in an argument making excuses or trying to justify it. Just own it, and, as necessary, acknowledge that you are human, look for what you can learn from it, manage expectations and ask for forgiveness. This matters to me because I think lack of responsibility is at the root of a lot of the conflicts in life.
Other people who share your core value might readily agree. Just remember, someone else might feel lack of empathy is the root; while someone else might think lack of understanding is; and still someone else might quip that we’re all taking life too seriously & we’re lacking a sense of fun. All core values are valid.
I love these sentences:
“Your authentic self – who you are at your core – has no need for excess weight. Nor does that version of you have any preoccupation or obsession with weight.”
“What if you were to show up knowing yourself so deeply, that no person or situation could dictate who you are and what you have to offer the world?“
Good eye! Those are what I consider the two most essential considerations in this Wisdom Bite.
One of my core values that stood out in this exercise is SUPPORT, and even further than that, being cherished. I think I’ve been striving to find that for myself. I also think I put a lot of energy into giving it to others. I show up for people. All the time. Yesterday I waited for three hours in a parking lot for a loved one who was attending a difficult event. I didn’t want them to have to be alone when it ended. I’m glad I’m that kind of person, but by hour three I was reflecting on who does this for me? What need am I filling doing this for another? And how do I ask for this in my own life? I am the person that shows up and sits with hard emotions, and I’m striving to find a way to show up for myself.
These are powerful questions you’re asking of yourself – questions that lead to the kinds of boundaries & requests that will have you living your values more fully.