So you’re feeling out of sync with your true self? You may need help getting back on track with who you want to be and how you want live each day. It may be helpful to have a guide as you venture into such lofty, philosophical thoughts such as “Who Am I, Really?” A simple guideline my clients find helpful is the 4-Legged Table analogy.
Think of your life as represented by the legs on a 4-legged table. Each leg represents the primary parts of yourself you manifest each day. If any leg is too long or too short there’s no balance and the table may tip over! When the table is balanced and holding your core values and beliefs upright, your behaviors become aligned with your intentions. Consider each “leg” to see where you want to make adjustments in your life and remember to consider your values, beliefs, and behaviors for each one.
Purpose Relationships Vocational/Career Physical Well-Being
Purpose – Most people function better when they have a sense of purpose. Having goals, even small ones, can provide that for you. Research has shown that having attainable goals also contributes to resilience – the ability to bounce back from difficult times. If your goals align with your values, you increase the chance of reaching them. For example, I value peace and a sense of spiritual balance. I also believe that we learn how to live from each other. By combining that value and belief with the behavior of writing, teaching, and counseling I offer a learning experience. My goal is to contribute something to this endeavor each day. Seeing others attain such personal growth helps my own spiritual balance. It is a priority for me. In this way, I am practicing behaviors that manifest a value and belief. I know I’m out of sync when I’m not devoting some time each day to these behaviors. Of course, I have many other ways of achieving valued peace as well – staying organized, being mindful of my responsibilities, and so forth. What goals do you set for yourself? Do the goals you set reflect your priorities, or values, in life? How do you adjust those priorities when life seems out of balance?
Relationships – Relationships are an integral part of life. Even if you isolate from most people, you’re sending a message about where relationships fit into your values and belief system. For me, relationships can be exhausting though I enjoy them. I try to ensure the relationships I have are meaningful, mostly positive, and balanced with an amount of give and take. I especially like the ones that inspire me to achieve that sense of peace I mentioned earlier, as well as relating to others who can teach me valuable lessons. How do your relationships match what you value in life? Do you have relationships with persons who share similar beliefs?
Vocational/Career – This one may be a challenge as you balance the gaining income to sustain the basic needs of life (shelter, food, etc.) with the lofty goal honoring what you believe to be your purpose in life. Through your career you can manifest your values on a daily basis – and maybe even get paid to do so! Even if your current vocation is waiting tables, if you value excellence then you’re honoring your value by a job well done!
Physical Well-Being/Health – Face it. No other aspects of life can be lived well if you’re not taking care of yourself. The basics of ample sleep, exercise, and nutrition give you strength to focus on purpose, be fully present in relationships, and have longevity in pursuing your career goals. Above all else, I hope you value your own health and physical well-being.
Ensuring your behaviors represent your true values and beliefs is an ongoing task. There are ways to make it easier. Talking with a professional who specializes in values clarification and goal-setting is one route or you can even begin right now. Just google “values clarification” and you’ll find many ideas on how to get started. Below are two of the websites I found helpful.
http://www.lifevaluesinventory and www.smartrecovery.org
Get back in sync – get back to you! I wish you the best……