This week, I set myself the challenge to set an intention for each day. What I found was that a lot of my intentions were set around others. I would intend to call family, check in on friends, make sure I completed things at work, instead of focusing on myself.
Then, I was browsing the Internet and came across the website Should I Leave Him, a site dedicated to information about making good decisions. One of their articles talked about how you can’t be a good partner unless you are feeling good yourself and, in order for your relationship to grow, you have to nurture yourself first.
It dawned on me that my focus has to be on myself first to allow me to reach my goals. To focus on what you really want, you have to get down to values:
- What lifestyle am I striving for?
- Where do I want to be in 10 years?
- How do I like to spend my free time?
- What brings me the most joy?
- What will I absolutely not stand for?
This process is hard because often our values can get overridden or forgotten, especially with a relationship or a job, but it was something that I found helpful.
I weeded out any answers which weren’t coming from me, so anything I had learned from family or colleagues which didn’t reflect my own opinion, and I was left with a surprising simple list.
I want to strive for the simple things in life, getting pleasure from gardening, long walks and volunteering. I want to live comfortably, but not excessively, and I want to be running my own business full-time in 10 years. I get joy from nature, reading and deep conversations with friends and I will not condone negativity or violence.
When you strip back all those inherited opinions and challenge everything before you write it down, by asking yourself “Is that really my voice?”, you may be surprised by what you find.
It helps me to own my own values and to be able to stand up to others and recognise that their thoughts are not always the same as mine, and I can choose not to take them on board.
This process told me a lot about myself and made me feel stronger about ploughing my own furrow, in spite of whatever else is going on. It is also helping me on this journey of belonging because, ultimately, you can’t belong to any community until you first belong to yourself.
So this week is going to be about standing up for my own values. To challenge the opinions of others and weed out anything that doesn’t serve me. Easier said than done but to help me, I have written my values down in my purse to remind me.
We all have times of weakness when we take on others’ opinions until we believe they are our own, but how often do we stop to challenge it before it even enters our head? For me, rarely. Until now!
Challenge your thoughts before they go and play havoc in your head.