Developing a Personal Philosophy, Part II: Values

This post is the second post of a three part series on creating your own Personal Philosophy. To read the first part, Six Words / One Word, click here.

I am showcasing the same journal spread for al three parts in this series. It is one I created to document developing my own person philosophy, but when I started a blog post to share it with you, I realized there was so much going on that I wanted to explore with you that I had to break it down. So with each post I am highlighting the areas of the spread that are relevant to the topic. 

Values. I think of them as our guiding light. The North Star of our soul, leading us through life, following the spark within us that radiates who we are at our core. Values are what you bring to the table of life, along with your story and your personality. They are an essential part of what makes you you.

I am sure if you have not mapped them out completely that you have a good idea of what yours are, even if you don’t realize it! They are what helps define you, what guides your thoughts and your actions. The great thing about values is that once you know what they are, you can use them to help make decisions in your life, or to keep your self on the path of showing up in the world the way you want to. 

There was a time when I was really struggling with who I was and where I fit in in the world, and I had the story I told myself over and over was “I don’t know who I am”, but defining my values helped me change that story to “my experiences, values and soul make me who I am”, and from there I grew.

I always refine my values every few years, but I find, in essence, they are the same. For instance in 2011 I had documented them as:

Character: Strength in originality in a persons character
Unity: Harmony, sense of belong
Honesty: Being true to myself, and being upright adjust
Kindness and Compassion: Friendly, considerate, sympathy, empty, desire to help others
Wisdom and Knowledge: Knowing there is something more to become, constantly learning and evolving

In 2015 I took the time to really look at my definitions and did not limit myself to single words, but you can see how they echo the words I came up with in 2011 (I put them I parentheses):

Authenticity / Truth (Character / Honesty)
Being Part of Something (Unity)
Helping People (Compassion)
Acknowledging others (Kindness)
Growth (Wisdom and Knowledge)

In 2018 I loved going through the steps of an article (see below) I found and coming up with an updated version of my values. I went back to one word, but each one, to me, encompasses other words, as follows:

Authenticity: Includes honesty and truth
Beauty: For me, this includes creativity and love
Goodness: Includes empathy, compassions, kindness, and love (again)
Connection: Includes belonging, connecting people, unity
Growth: Includes wisdom

However, early 2019 I read a book by Drew Dudley called This is Day One (I recommend it, and his Ted Talk), and I discovered I had another value, that has been there all along, but hidden behind my fears and self imposed limitations. It was… Courage

As you can see, over the course of 10 years, the same core of my value system existed, and it was reevaluated and fine turned every few years, growing with me.

What Are Your Values? is the article I found that helped me reevaluate my values in 2018 that I really enjoyed so I wanted to share it with you (click here to read). I printed it out and answered the questions right on the pages.

The article starts out with a great definition of what values are, and moves in to a six step process to help you discover yours., but the size steps are as follows:

  1. Identify the times when you were happiest
  2. Identify the times when you were most proud
  3. Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied
  4. Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment
  5. Prioritize your top values
  6. Reaffirm your values

I highly recommend you pop over and read the full article to get a better idea of the questions and some thinking points to help you answer them. It also has a list of suggested words to use as values in case you have trouble getting started with your list.

If you go through and define your values, feel free to come back here and let me know what they are in the comments, and I also encourage you to journal them, and your journey finding them as I did.