For Autism Families

V for Values. The A to Z of Conscious Living

A to Z V
Values

What Value to you put on yourself, your feelings, your loved ones, your things?

Our values are the things that are most important to us. The things that we will always give priority to in our lives over other things, and while we may not consciously know what our values are, we can find out by becoming aware of what things, people, experiences etc we put first in our lives.

All we really want as human beings is to feel good, and have more good feelings than bad ones, and the way we behave in what we say, what we do and how we are with others is our way of meeting that need to feel great and feel good about ourselves. In N for Needs we discussed how although we all have the same human needs, we can go about meeting them in positive or negative ways and what determines that are our values.

What comes to mind for you when I ask what do you value most? What’s most important for you?

There are no right or wrong answers here, we are all different. Often when I ask that question I get replies such as ‘my children’, ‘my partner’, ‘my job’, and sometimes ‘my house / car’ and on fewer occasions I hear ‘myself’ or ‘my health’. Other answers are on the lines of ‘being honest’, ‘caring for others’, ‘knowing I have done my best’. The list of possible replies to the question is endless.

As I said there is no right or wrong, but the reason it can be enlightening to know our values is so that when we are living wide awake we can make those conscious choices, as opposed to relying on our reactive ones, and so find more of those good feelings more of the time.

It is interesting however that ‘myself’ and ‘my health’ are often not at the top of people’s value list, and in Y for Yourself First I will explore that further.

So if we wanted to make a list of our top values, how could we do it?

One way is to ask ourselves what feelings we are looking to experience more of the time. For example, are we after feelings of close connection to others, feeling needed, loved or valued? Perhaps we want to feel successful, feel that we have really achieved something, met a goal perhaps, won an award or just felt busy and productive. Are the feelings we seek more around security in our home or financial position. Maybe it’s more about feeling we are continually growing and developing our minds and souls, being authentic with ourselves and have integrity in all we do.

There are many positive feelings that we are always seeking to ‘move toward’ and whether we consciously know them or not, they will be the driver for our decisions and judgements.

There are also some less positive feelings that we seek to ‘move away from’ which can be an even greater driver in our daily choices. These can be feelings such as fear, conflict, overwhelm, anger, confrontation, loneliness and again this list is endless. These feelings that we do anything to avoid often have more of an influence in our lives than the positive ones we seek. It is useful to know our top few so that we can be more conscious about our decisions when we are more awake to the feelings we are trying to avoid.

This brings me onto the rules we have sub-consciously taken on-board that tell us when we can have those feelings we seek and when we get to have the ones we want to avoid too. Let’s take a look at the rules we have around our positive values, and what has to happen for us to feel those feelings we seek.
Take your top 3 values, and the positive feeling you are seeking by having them as the most important things in your life. For each just ask yourself the question “what has to happen for me to feel this?” For example, let’s take the feeling of being loved by a partner. It maybe that’s an easy one as you only have to think about that person to get that feeling. On the other hand you may have created some more difficult rules such as ‘I need to be told I love you’, ‘have to have a text / call / gift each day’, or even ‘they have to put me first in everything they do. The more rules we have we can see that the more difficult we are setting it up for us to have that feeling we seek the most.

Now let’s look at the feelings we want to avoid the most. Take your top 3 and ask the same question “what has to happen for me to feel this?” As an example, the feeling of confrontation may have some rules associated with it such as ‘when someone says No to me’, ‘if someone comes into my personal space’ or simply ‘when someone disagrees with my point of view’. The more rules we have makes it so much easier to have that feeling.

The point of this exercise is to see if you have made it easy or hard to feel the values / feelings you seek, and if you have made it easy or hard to feel the feelings you avoid. When I do this with my clients the outcome is nearly always that the rules are set up to almost make it impossible to feel what they want to feel, as easy as pie to feel the ones they don’t. That’s when we get creative and turn them around so that they get good feelings more often than the bad.

What are the most important things in your life and do they have your priority?

With love and gratitude

Nadine.
Founder & CEO, The Autism Directory
Professional Coach to Parents of a Child with Autism

Change Your Life Forever. Click here to find out how you can spend some private time with Nadine.

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