If you were asked, what are the most important things in your life, what would come to mind first? A list of your most important values in life might be deeply ingrained, but what about everyday life? How are your values visible in your routines? Are you living a life that looks like your values?
According to logophilosophy, developed by Viktor Frankl,
a meaningful life is born out of living out the values that are important to you.
In other words, taking action following our values and doing those things that we feel are important and valuable.
The thought is pretty clear, but in reality it is often easy to get stuck carrying this out. It takes choices, at least for me a continuous stream of choices, in fact on a daily basis!
Everyday life can be such a tough jungle trail. Pressures from those around us and the expectations and goals set for ourselves and by others can be a dense forest to work through.
Values compressed by everyday life
A large part of our everyday life is made up of repeating routines. If life is very full and hectic and keeps pulling us to different directions, making choices that match our values might become less of a priority without us paying much attention to the change. If it feels like there is no time or space for the things that you find important, you might eventually start feeling like you’re not really living a life that looks like you.
It is painfully familiar how easily many of the things we find important, hobbies, plans or wishes, are stored in the “when I have the time”-box. There they grow dimmer and take on a supporting role. “During the holidays…when I have time.”
Obviously we have to fit our values into the environment for example when it comes to relationships and work. But compromising all the time and bypassing your important values constantly to avoid being on a crash course is working against yourself. In the long run it can wear you out.
If you drift far away from your core values,
life can begin to feel meaningless and empty.
This is a point where it is important to stop and think, if you haven’t done it before.
Dive into your values – explore and brighten up!
Looking at your values more closely can bring up important things that have value to you, but that have been pushed to the side in the whirlpools of life for one reason or another. Through this process you can also open up completely new things, which you may notice you miss. Planting more of these things into your everyday life increases its meaningfulness.
Processing values can also open up new meanings, perspectives and views
towards those things in our lives
that we are not able to change at this moment in time.
You can start the process of brightening up your values by using the concepts of logophilosophy as a model and by grouping your values into creative values, experiential values and attitudinal values:
- Creative values are related to work, chores, hobbies (anything to do with doing and creating). Creative values are realized through actions that include all kinds of doing and anything that is created into the world for example through your work or hobbies (writing a blog, cooking, singing in a choir, crafts, charity work etc).
- Experiential values include for example art, music, nature, reading, silence and, amongst other things, loving.
- Attitudinal values are realized when we choose how to react in response to circumstances. For example, how do you choose to react to an illness, losing a job or another misfortune? How about in reverse, if your neighbor wins the lottery or you have a stroke of luck? Realizing attitudinal values is possible even when it is impossible to realize other values, for example when seriously ill. We can always and in every circumstance choose our own attitude.
One good and refreshing way of waking up values that are dormant or have grown dim is to take some time to sit down with a pen and paper and throw yourself into digging up values in a concrete way by listing things that you feel are important and meaningful.
Try using the different groups of values described in logophilosophy as a support for perceiving your values, but don’t let it tie your hands. Different values overlap with many things and there is no need to get stuck because of the groups! For example, you might think about picking berries, which could combine creative values (doing something, going outdoors, exercise), experiential values (enjoying nature, scents and colors, sounds in the forest) and attitudinal values (being grateful for what the forest has on offer, the joy of knowing that despite having experienced for example a loss or other challenging circumstances, you still have the opportunity to go to the forest and enjoy this experience, and so on).
Values guide you downstream
Knowing your values and motives strengthens self-knowledge and confidence. They have a significant effect on managing stress, because clarity regarding your values increases the ability to prioritize and make conscious choices both in the small moments we face every day and the big questions of life. Realizing our values in practice increases trust in ourselves and the downstream in life.
When you adjust your compass, you can think about the following things:
Which creative values (work, doing, hobbies, tasks) do you find important to realize?
Can you remember what you used to like as a child? What kind of activities/games?
What kind of experiential values do you value now? What experiences did you enjoy as a child?
Use an open mind to explore your attitudinal values and where they stem from.
What attitudes have you, for example, used in your life when dealing with misfortunes and success in your own life and that of others?
Which of your attitudinal values have helped carry you and helped you over challenges in life?
How could you realize, nourish and reinforce these important things and attitudes in your everyday life?
Which things and attitudes could you change to make them more meaningful and realize your values more in everyday life? How?
Which things and attitudes could you cut down on in everyday life, which could you change and which reinforce and how?
How to make sure your compass is pointing in the right direction?
Quite a few questions, but even thinking about them is like sowing seeds!
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