Why Knowing Your Values is Key to Personal Freedom

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personal freedom, values, self-assessment, priorities, balance, life goals, purpose, reflection
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Our values are at the core of who we are.

From our values come our beliefs.

From our beliefs comes our personality.

From our personality comes our attitude.

From our attitude comes how we approach life and the actions we take.

Everything we ​ ​do is a reflection of our values.

So what happens when we live a life that’s not true to our values?

Most live their lives on autopilot. We get programmed by our parents, the education system and society. We go through the motions without taking a step back to know if what we’re doing is even what we want.

What exactly do we mean by values?

Values are a representation of what’s most important to you which you’ve created within yourself. Notice the words you and yourself. If you’re running on autopilot, doing what others have programmed you to do then you’re not free.

Cognitive psychology deems our core values as something that lies deeper than our beliefs, at a subconscious level. Crazy, right?

Knowing our true values is crucial to our happiness.

How knowing your values will set you free We all have many values, but our 5 core values are what dictate how we live our life. Our core values dictate on how we spend our time and energy.

If we’re not spending our time, life’s most precious gift, on what’s aligned with our values, we’re going to have problems. We’re going to become anxious, frustrated and depressed. We’re going to be unhappy. We’re going to become slaves to our own lives.

For example, let’s say fulfillment is one of your core values. And you’re working for a big corporation that’s giving you a nice bonus and your boss an even nicer bonus, but you don’t feel fulfilled. You don’t feel like you’re making an impact on the world in the way you truly want.

You’re not ever going to be happy, no matter how big your bonus is. You’re not living according to your values.

Or let’s say one of your core values is money. You want to be the next Rockefeller. And your partner wants to start a family, which is not one of your core values. And that’s okay. Not everyone is supposed to be a parent. And what’s the problem with that?

Our society programs us to follow a path: get married, buy a house and have children. So that’s what we do, even if it’s not aligned with our values. And then we’re unhappy. We might even start drinking. We get put on antidepressants. We numb ourselves.

So how do you define your values?

This takes some digging. Start with a word list and circle all of the words you find most valuable. Then number them according to what you value the most. This will take several rounds of circling, numbering and eliminating, but once you identify your core 5-10 values you’ll be able to live a more balanced life.

You’ll set goals according to your values, bringing more meaning to your life.

You’ll spend your time and energy according to your values.

You’ll live a life that’s true to you.

And you’ll be more free.

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Maria Nicholas is passionate about inspiring change and believes that there are two parts to this change. First, looking within and doing our personal work. Two, sharing this journey with others. After all, our key purposes in life come down to happiness and human connection. For her, experiences gained while traveling and living abroad nurture this change and enrich our lives, allowing us to discover ourselves and the world we live in. She's currently based in Madrid and greatly appreciates the Mediterranean lifestyle, especially the gastronomy. She's also a huge fan of health and nutrition and dancing at music festivals. She's a writer, an actress and a travel documentary host.