Valuing Your Values

A very wise man once said, “Human beings are incapable of doing something they believe is wrong. Therefore, whenever they do something that IS wrong, they will find a way to justify it.”

At work, project deadlines are missed because “they were unreasonable in the first place;” office supplies get stolen because “they don’t pay me what I’m worth;” and job-hunting is done on company time because “they don’t treat me well here,”

At home, spouses are mistreated because they’re “not giving me what I need:” children are disrespected (ironically) because they “are being disrespectful;” and a variety of addictions to food, alcohol, shopping (name your poison) are being indulged because “I deserve it,” (how twisted is that logic?)

You can fool everybody and everything except your Inner Guide, the part of you that is always leading you toward that which is guaranteed to make you feel good. Some call this guide intuition, many refer to it as soul and others simply say “gut instinct.” Whatever you call yours, its job is to guide you toward that which will make you happy.

Now, here’s the kicker. Contrary to popular opinion, when you experience negative emotions it is not your Inner Guide proactively signaling you that there is danger ahead. Rather, it is separating itself from you. If it could talk to you, you would hear, “What you are doing right now is not leading you toward your greatest good so I’m vacating the premises until you stop.” This separation feels terrible; you would do yourself a big favor to repair the rift quickly.

If you feel bad when you’re doing something, your Inner Guide goes on vacation and it is your Inner Guide that makes you feel good; it is your connection to your higher good—Source Energy, God, whatever you wish to call it.

Your emotions are the strongest barometer of whether you are living your life in alignment with your value system (not everyone else’s; yours).

Let’s say that a strong tenet of your value system is that you treat people with respect. Your Inner Guide knows that and guides you toward it. Therefore, when you don’t treat others with respect, it feels terrible, no matter how justified. In fact, the stronger the justification, the worse it feels. You end up visibly shaken and upset and your Inner Guide is long gone, knowing you are behaving in a way that’s leading you away from what you really want.

When you indulge any addiction (and believe me, I do this more often that I care to publicly admit), it feels awful. We ignore this feeling because the adult is no longer in charge; a two-year-old has taken control of our body and “wants it right now!” Our emotions are screaming at us to stop but we grit our teeth in determination and justification and defiantly do the dastardly deed.

You’ll recall that I often say, “Your brain doesn’t know the difference between pretend and reality.” If you pretend to be happy, your brain is fooled into sending “feel good” chemicals into your system and you become happy. Another benefit to doing this is that, when you make happiness your highest priority, you no longer indulge in behavior that causes your Inner Guide to vacate the premises. That feeling of happiness is a result of your Inner Guide being in residence, connecting you to your Source Energy. The more you live in integrity with your values, the stronger that connection, and the happier you are. The highest level of connection is joy.

Do a values audit. If you are doing anything that goes against your values, know that you and you alone are the one standing in the way of your own happiness.

How great is that?!? You can do something about it!

Download a PDF of this column