Your personal core values are directly related to who you are - what inspires you, what upsets you and why you make the decisions you do.
They are magical little signposts that point you towards a life of ease as opposed to one where you're constantly struggling.
You may wonder what your personal core values have to do with being a free spirit, and I’ll get to that in a moment… but first let’s explore why it’s so important to really connect with them.
Being aware of what your values are will help you to understand why you act and react the way you do to certain situations. For example, if someone disregards or challenges your value of independence, you will probably feel upset and perhaps angry.
Or, if you make a decision that goes against your personal value of freedom, it will leave you feeling uneasy, out of balance, or even depressed.
If you’re not aware of what your core values are, you will be confused as to why you’re feeling or reacting the way you are in these situations, which often leads to self-blame – thinking that you are wrong in some way - and that never makes you feel good!
The other thing that’s important to know is that you will always strive to honor your personal values especially those you deem most important. This can be consciously or subconsciously - which again can result in behavior and emotions that you can't understand.
In a nutshell, your core values reflect what is most important to you, and when your life is working well you are expressing them naturally. But when you are living in contradiction to them life can get a little tricky.
So to live life in the flow, and honor your free spirited nature it will really help you to get clear on what your personal core values are.
The thing is, many of us think we already know what they are, but in reality have never really spent more than a few minutes considering what values are truly important to us.
When you’re aware of your personal values life becomes a lot easier - you begin to understand the reasons you are feeling out of balance in certain areas and it makes your decision making process much simpler too.
For example, if you realise that one of your highest held values is creative self expression, but you’re working long hours in a corporate job with no time to spend creating, you'll begin to understand why you feel so trapped and uninspired.
Whereas someone else, whose top value may be security, can work long hours without feeling so dead inside, as long as they’re financially stable.
So being aware of your values allows you to make much better decisions about how to live your life. It will help you to answer questions like:
Your personal values are usually fairly stable, however as you move through different stages of life their order of importance may shift.
For example, when you start your career, success – measured by money and status – might be a top priority. But after you have a family, work-life balance and providing for your children may be what you value more.
So keeping in touch with your core values is a lifelong exercise which you should continuously revisit, especially if you start to feel unbalanced and you can't quite figure out why.
By now it’s probably becoming more apparent to you how important your personal core values are to finding your perfect self expression and aligning with your free spirit.
Many people set a vision for what they think they want, but in reality if you don’t have a clear idea of your core values first, you may be aiming in the wrong direction.
If your goals don’t match up with your core values you are always going to find it hard to achieve them, because you are not expressing your very essence, the natural drivers you have in life.
The following exercise will help you to uncover your top values, after which we will see if your goals allow you to express your fundamental nature, and what to do if they don't.
When answering each of the questions below take time to think back over your life for examples. Take note of the emotions you felt at that time, and any specific attributes (like peace or excitement or freedom).
After each question, make a note of any patterns you see in the experiences you wrote down. For example, in each situation where you were happiest perhaps it involved being with your family, or it was when you were learning something new.
When you've answered questions 1 - 3, go back and make a note of what values you feel were being expressed in each situation.
When you have a list of 5 top values it may be an eye opener or it may not. If it is, or even if it isn’t, you may wonder if your life vision is in alignment with them. So let’s find out.
(If you haven’t worked on your life vision yet you can leave this for later and come back once you have.)
Remember, these things take time to take shape, so don't worry if it takes you a while to get really clear. The most important thing is you have uncovered your natural drivers in life, your personal core values – and that can only make life easier.