There has been a theme popping up in my sessions recently. Clients who feel hurt, lost, and uncertain. The causes of those feelings are wide and varied–everything from childhood trauma to relationship pain to bodies that don’t seem willing to work. But the feelings are the same. And there is something else that is the same. There is a common thread. When I ask about what matters most, many of these clients can’t quite answer me.
These are talented, intelligent, capable, caring people. They have tried hard in life. Tried hard in relationships. Tried hard in jobs. But somewhere along the line, in the process of doing what they were supposed to do, following the rules, trying hard, they missed something critical.
They aren’t sure what they truly value.
Does that sound familiar? If you met one of these folks, you probably wouldn’t guess that they are struggling. They can be very successful and kind. But they are keeping themselves busy. Their rush and routine is driven by a fear of letting someone else down, of not doing it right–it isn’t powered by their own genuine passion. And a primary reason for that is that they don’t know what their passion is.
Do you? If we were sitting together over a cup of coffee, and I asked you to tell me what really matters to you, could you tell me? Could you tell yourself in a journal entry?
I can. It makes a huge difference in my life. I know that I will face challenges, but I also know that I am doing what I am supposed to do. I’m using my talents and skills. I’m growing and learning. And I’m incredibly fortunate that I can say that. But I also worked hard at being able to say that. I had great mentors who pushed me to articulate my values and to pursue them.
Do you know what you value? What you stand for? What you want your life to mean?
Those questions matter. From a therapeutic standpoint, I can tell you that my clients who have at least part of the answer to those questions are the ones who make faster progress in moving through their pain. Understanding what you stand for doesn’t protect you from pain in life. But it does help you have a purposeful recovery. It gives you a reason to stand back up when life knocks you down.
If you’d like to share your values in the comments, we would welcome them. And if you need some help in sorting out those values, just hit that schedule button.