In this fast-paced world filled with distractions, it’s easy to lose sight of ourselves and the direction we truly want to take. We get caught up in the demands of our careers, the pressures of society, and the expectations of others. However, by dedicating some time for introspection and asking ourselves two fundamental questions, we can initiate a profound shift in our lives.
These two questions have the power to pierce through the noise and reveal our deepest desires, values, and purpose. They serve as a compass that can guide us towards a life of authenticity and fulfillment. So, let’s embark on a journey of self-discovery as we explore the transformative potential of these two simple yet life-altering questions.
This information is not designed to provide a diagnosis or replace a clinically excellent Christian counselor.
Who Am I?
What Do I Stand For?
Sounds easy, right? If you’re reading this post, chances are it hasn’t been so simple up until now.
Luckily, there are all kinds of exercises you can do to narrow down your values and make real progress TODAY, especially when completed with the help of a clinically excellent Christian counselor.
3 Exercises to Find Your Values
Understanding your core values is crucial for leading a purposeful and fulfilling life. These exercises can be a bit challenging, especially if this is your first time doing something like this. Carefully read the instructions for each exercise and don’t rush your answers. This is an opportunity to set your life on a new trajectory, so make sure you take it seriously.
The value sorting exercise involves prioritizing a list of values to identify those that resonate most strongly with you. It helps in clarifying the hierarchy of your core values, providing insight into what truly matters in your life.
- Download this free worksheet (no contact info required)
- Carefully read through the list of values on the first page.
- Circle 12 values you identify with (or want to identify with) from the list.
- Fill out the bracket on the second page with these 12 initial values.
- Compare each value with the one next to it and make a subjective decision on which one is more important to you.
- Continue narrowing down until you end up with 3. These are your core values.
The Epitaph Exercise:
This exercise involves contemplating the legacy you would like to leave behind. By envisioning how you would want others to remember you, you can gain clarity about your core values and what you want to prioritize in life.
- Download this free worksheet (no contact info required)
- Write your name on the headstone
- Reflect on how you want to be remembered, and what your friends/family would say about you. Focus on using adjectives and descriptive words.
- Fill in the blanks beneath the headstone.
- Reflect on what you wrote. What core values can you pull from what your loved ones said about you? Refer to the list at this link to see examples of values.
- Determine whether or not you’re currently living up to these values.
- If you are not, come up with one single actionable step you can take today to change direction toward that value. It doesn’t need to be anything major. For example, if you discovered the value of “caring”, you can send a quick text to someone letting them know you’re thinking of them.
- Complete the action items from your list, and take the first step to becoming who you want to be.
The ACT Matrix:
This tool involves unlocking your core values by observing your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviors that lead you toward your values, or away from them. By observing the patterns that emerge throughout this exercise, you’ll gain a better understanding of your core values (a.k.a. who you are).
- Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can reflect without disruption.
- Draw a large + sign on a piece of paper to divide it into 4 quadrants, or download this free template (no contact info required)
- Label each axis with the words: “Toward,” “Outer,” “Away,” and “Inner.”
- Fill in each quadrant as follows:
- Top Left – The “Outer/Away” Quadrant. It includes external things that can make it harder to do what you want. Things like rules, people, events, or situations that hinder who you want to be.
- Top Right – The “Outer/Toward” quadrant. This refers to external things that make you happy. What things “fill your cup” when you do them? Maybe you like helping others, giving a hug, giving words of affirmation, or other external situations. Write down the things and/or actions that bring you joy.
- Bottom Right – The “Inner/Toward” quadrant. Reflect on your internal qualities that can help you overcome challenges and achieve your goals. Write your strengths, talents, positive thoughts, and qualities that make you feel good and help you move forward.
- Bottom Left – The “Inner/Away” Quadrant. This requires reflecting on the internal thoughts and feelings that hold you back or make you feel worried/scared. These are the negative things our minds and bodies tell us when specific situations happen.
By exploring each of these exercises, you can gain a clearer understanding of your values, recognize external and internal barriers, and develop internal resources to help you move toward a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Remember, this exercise is intended only to enhance self-awareness and guide your actions in alignment with your values. It cannot replace a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support throughout the process.
FIND A CHRISTIAN THERAPIST
Research shows that much of the change people experience during their time in therapy is because they felt heard and understood by their therapist–that their therapist “got them” and that the guidance they gave was relevant and applicable. Because of this, it is critical that you find a therapist whom you can connect with, whom you feel comfortable with, whom you feel “gets you.” Therefore, we encourage you to take a few minutes to read a little about each one of our therapists. If you prefer to look at the counselors nearest to you, please click the office location buttons below. Otherwise, you can meet with any of our Christian Counselors online from the comfort of your own home. If you have questions about any of them, please contact us!