How to Know If You Are Living Your Life – Align with Your Core Values

Back to Blog   Posted:   April 16, 2019 by

Lately, does it feel like things just don’t seem to quite “right?” Like life is out of tempo and you’re missing a beat? Although you may go through the motions every day, the passion, drive, and energy you once felt are gone. You miss feeling a strong sense of purpose and vitality. Dull maybe the experience of your day to day humdrum of living.

Life takes us in many directions—either from our own choices or even events that are outside our control. However, when you are living a life that is not in alignment with your core values, you most likely sense something is off and you know it. Maybe you don’t realize the connection, but you know something is off. Consider these ways to examine your life and align it with your core values, helping you to find fulfillment and vitality again. Invite the experience of joy purpose back into your life

How to Know When You’re Not Aligned

When you are not living your life in alignment with your core values, you just don’t feel fulfilled. Sometimes low self-esteem creeps into your perspective of yourself. Granted, the term “fulfillment” can mean different things to different people. Some think of fulfillment as living a life that has a meaning, purpose and is satisfying. Of course, there are many ways for this to occur. How that looks is going be different for every individual.

For example, one person who is working certain career goals as necessity may not feel like their life is aligned with their core values. Meanwhile, another person could feel that serving others as a career goal is really in alignment with their core values. Core values in different life domains change throughout the life cycle. It’s important to take time periodically to take an honest assessment of where you’re at in life. To ask yourself what matters most to you. To become aware if you are living your life based on your core values and not what has been prescribed to you by outside influences. When I say prescribed I am referring to the many rules and expectations other can impose on us from early childhood and well into adulthood. How can you find clarity around your core values? The first step is to define your core values. This will help to sort out what steps you take to align your life.

How to Define Core Values

Again, this is going to vary depending on who you are. One person can easily have a different set of core values than another. That’s why this is also something that you have to answer for yourself. Yet, what are core values? These are qualities that you hold dear and are central to who you are as a person. A principle or way of being in the world that you would step up for in claiming it as part of what makes your life worth living.

For example, what elements in life are truly important to you? (Hint: think beyond material belongings.) It can be difficult to put these in-depth values into words. After all, they are the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that you’ve probably always had, but perhaps have never formally defined. Or maybe they were hidden because you thought you should be doing. If you find yourself using the word should you might be living someone else’s value. Yet, a quick internet search will reveal many examples of words that you can attribute to core values.

For example:
• Honesty
• Loyalty
• Dependability
• Reliability
• Kindness
• Lovingness

This is just one of the many examples of core values keywords that exist. Do some research and take notes about which words resonate with you. Form a list of words you feel describe those attributes that are most important to you.

How to Identify “Off” Areas

Next, take a hard look at your list and ask yourself if your life aligns with the core values that you have identified. Look at the actions and behaviors that you engage in the serve your core values. Furthermore, try to provide specific examples for each word. You may surprise yourself how you are already living your life according to those values. However, nobody is perfect, and most likely there will be a few instances where you don’t feel like you are in alignment.

For example, if you value “service” but don’t have any examples of how your life connects to service, that is when your life is not aligned with your core values. When this occurs, instead of getting down on yourself with disappointment, consider how to better align your life to those values. Set a plan in motion with a few achievable goals.

How to Make Life Changes

When making life changes, it’s helpful to start small. So, choose a core value with which it will be easier to align your life.

For example, if you identified “adventure” as a core value, think about how you could do something adventurous this very week. It could be as simple as going on a nature hike or exploring a part of your city that you’ve never experienced before. It can be a simple as easting a new food or at a new restaurant.

With your other values, think about specific things that you can do, then go ahead and do it! It helps if you write it down or tell someone your intentions. Better follow-through. Determining if your life aligns with your core values does take some time and introspection. Maybe you won’t like what you see initially. Then again, you might be quite pleased to know you’re living infidelity with your values. Whatever the results, you do have the power to do something about living the best version of yourself. By going through this process you will be able to better live life the way you want to—aligned with your core values.

Brenda Bomgardner

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Life Coaching, Career Counseling, Grief and Loss, Anxiety, PTSD