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  • Elizabeth Lowder msw lcsw

May's Monthly Theme: VALUES

Values I'm starting a new experiment for my existing therapy clients. My wish is that deciding on a monthly theme and teasing them out each week will help add color and shape to our sessions. They are meant to only enrich your life in-between sessions, never to stress you out or give you more work. Do them, don't do them, think about them, bring them up during your next appointment with me - whatever works for you!


This month's theme is VALUES. Why? Well, read below and find out!





· Pre-Week April 26 – May 2 LEARNING ABOUT VALUES

“There are no guarantees in the arena. We will struggle. We will even fail. There will be darkness. But if we are clear about the values that guide us in our efforts to show up and be seen, we will always be able to find the light. We will know what it means to live brave.” -Brené Brown

Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.

Values can determine your priorities, and help you make decisions with your best interest in mind. Decisions about work, home, relationships, self-care, parenting, school…everything!


When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you're satisfied and content. But when these don't align with your personal values, that's when things feel... wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness that I hear about often in my therapy practice.

This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important. If we don’t recognize them, life might feel confusing and we might find ourselves in situations where we’re not getting what we really want and need.


Tip:

As you move through life, your values may change.

As your definition of success changes, so do your personal values. This is why keeping in touch with your values is a lifelong exercise. You should continuously revisit this, especially if you start to feel unbalanced... and you can't quite figure out why.


So, let's get started!


Discovering Your Values

take out your journal, a scrap piece of paper or even a note on your phone and jot down answers to the following questions


1: What makes you happy?


2: Identify the times when you were most proud, why were you proud, describe the situation in terms of what you excel at.


3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied


4: Identify and write down three people who are important role models or people who inspire you (real, alive or dead, or fictional).


5: Think of the values they embody.

For example, your list might include: “my dad for his acceptance and love,” “my best friend for her honesty,” and “my spouse for their kindness,”.


Dr. Steven Hayes, the founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, suggests that you uncover your values by naming your heroes. For example, why do you admire, say, Martin Luther King, Jr.? Is it because he fought for social justice? Is it his commitment to non-violence? His kindness to others? Identifying the specific values embodied by your heroes can inspire you to adopt those values for yourself.


6: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment

Read through this list and checkmark or circle any that you resonate with. Try to notice if you have a visceral (body) reaction or strong feeling about any of them. Identify as many as you want.



SHARE WITH YOUR THERAPIST!

Which value words resonated with you today?

How is that coming up for you this week?

Have you given the concept of values much thought during the last several weeks?

Do you have questions about values?


I hope you've enjoyed this week's activity! I'll be posting something new each week.

-Elizabeth


elizabeth@sagetreetherapy.com

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