Value is a word that has been echoing in my mind in the past year, in many different conversations I have had, in many of the headlines I have read and in many of the stories I have heard.
We are all in this half-half transition period during the pandemic– where the ‘old’ way of doing things is no longer possible or in some respects wanted, yet the ‘new’ has not yet been formed. That is why it feels so hard. We don’t know where we are going. Even though it is uncomfortable not knowing, it is an opportunity to reset.
Our values are what we consider important in life, the standards we set, the worth we give things and the priority we give them.
On an individual level, our core values are foundational beliefs that feed into every single thing in our daily lives – how we live our lives: how we behave, how we treat ourselves, how we treat others and what we bring to the world. And each of our individual set of core values add up to the global core values we see reflected in the kind of world we are living in.
Values should not be trends that come and go according to what other people think or say. They are signposts that help us move in a direction in our lives that is authentic to us.
If you are feeling a bit lost in this “half-half” period of time, my advice is stop and consider the following questions.
WHAT ARE YOUR CORE VALUES? Your core values are yours to make. But you might feel adrift unless you devote the time and space to understand yourself and what they are. Think about words such as trust, honesty, kindness, authenticity, integrity, respect, fairness, courage, justice and perseverance. Writing a list of your core values and coming back to it over and over again will help you regain your bearings and make decisions for your present. Integrity is a value in itself, and one to apply to our whole set of values no matter what we see others doing.
WHAT DO YOU VALUE? This answer will be different for everyone. But life, nature and connection with our loved ones, I am sure, are all answers we have in common. With so many lives lost, Covid has made us all acutely aware of how precious life is; how each moment counts; how we don’t know what the future brings; how we need to try to appreciate all those we love, as well as respecting and looking after those we don’t know. Nature’s inherent value has also been something that we have been reminded of, without asking anything in return, except that we respect it.
HOW DO YOU VALUE YOURSELF? Have you been giving yourself time, space, self care, support and kindness? Do you value what you do for others and who you are? Our perception of our value is often historically associated incorrectly with our income, our job status, if we own a home, if we have a partner or a family. But our value is inherent – we don’t need to do anything to be of value. Value yourself more.
HOW DO YOU ALLOW OTHERS TO VALUE OR DEVALUE YOU? Have your boundaries around work and life been blurred? Are you asking for what you need from others? How we value ourselves often has ripples of effect in how others value us. The good news is, we can change this by taking small steps to reset how we treat ourselves and the kind of treatment we are prepared to accept from others.
HOW DO YOU VALUE OTHERS? Are we all still respecting others by showing them kindness through our actions? Values are not fads that come and go – we must hold on to our values even when it seems others have forgotten. How can we be an ally for other people who are discriminated against, treated unjustly, or in countries far away and who may not have the access to the protections they need?
I do think the pandemic has provided us all with an opportunity to reflect, relearn, remember and reset our values as individuals, but also as a world. It is now time to act on what we have learned, not just talk about it.