Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Choosing Your Values

One of the overwhelming feelings I have is this: I should do more. When I brought this up with my counsellor she asked me "Would you prefer to do more?" No way. I don't want to do anything else; I'm exhausted. I feel like there is this strong sense of "Be the perfect wife!" "Be the ever-present best mom!" "Give every opportunity to your foster child!" "Keep your house clean and the food healthy and homemade!" "Make more money!" There's so much more I could be doing but do I need to? No.

She recommended coming up with five values and focusing my energy on those things.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, check in and see if it fits with your list.

What did I decide were my main values?  What things will I focus my energy on? 

I considered what was important to me and what makes me happy and fulfilled. I couldn't narrow it down to five so chose six instead.

1. Family: meeting the needs of my kids and husband and spending quality time together.

How to choose your main values.

2. Faith: prayer, coffee groups, connecting with other women of faith who are older than me (who love to listen and feel–someone who will laugh and cry with me rather than offer practical advice).

3. Creativity: photography (for myself), writing, and reading.

4. Adventure: travelling, hiking, and outside time in nature.

When adventure is one of your main values

5. Compassion: foster parenting, listening to others and modeling it for my kids. This is a tricky one to name because there are many that I want to add in this "character" one such as empathy, gratitude, and encouragement but I think those can fit under the compassion umbrella.

6. Friendships. I want to continue to invest in the friendships that I have. I don't see myself having the energy to branch out and make more deep connections; I have some great friends and want to ensure that I connect with the in real life or via email if they are far away.

Have you considered what your values are? 

It doesn't need to be five or six but that just seems like a realistic size list for me. It's important to re-address this list over the years as our circumstances may alter our priorities. Technically they should be in order of most importance but I need to think on that a bit more. I tend to waste a lot of time and energy on things that aren't on my list. For example, if extended family is coming over I'm suddenly cleaning my fridge which was at a decent level of cleanliness already and it's taking away time from things that feed into my soul. If we're planning a trip, I want to make sure that we have the best value on our hotel and end up spending more time than I should on it. I need to remember that $20 more isn't going to make a huge difference – it's the family time and adventure that matters. If I get asked to work more than once a week, I should say "no" because we don't need that money and one day a week is what works best for my overall health.

Choosing your values. One of mine is adventure!

If you're looking to make a list for yourself, I would encourage you to look online through a list of values for ideas. What do you want to guide your behaviour and words? What do you care about? I'd love to hear what is on your list!


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How to choose your values. What do you want to focus your energy on?


  1. I absolutely love that photo of you and Koen(?)!! Great list :)

  2. It is difficult for people who are good/excel at so many things to limit themselves! It seems like you are working hard to balance your life for what works for you and your family at this time in your life.

  3. I am stuck in the "I should do more" mode too. Thank you for wording it so well. I am going to take a long look at my values and prioritize/eliminate those activities and thoughts that have been stealing my energy, but are not actually important to me.