Just as there are many colors on a color wheel, there are many color values, as well. Each color is unique, and each value gives us the full spectrum with which to view our world. Not unlike the values associated with each color, we all have distinctive values with which we see our world. We place varying amounts of importance on principles and ideas, or values, that help us to navigate our lives. Living within the spectrum of our own values allows us to not only live with a higher purpose, but also create joy and meaning in our lives.
The Values of Our Heart
As a child, we may have reflected on our lives and made plans for who we wanted to become. Not just a profession or position within a family or society, but the core beliefs which defined us and what we wanted people to know us for. As we got older, perhaps we created a set of values that we wanted to stand for – theories, ideas and principles that we thought were important to who we were and who we wanted to be.
Additionally, at some point, we created ideals for how we wanted to interact and relate to others and to the world around us. These principles and values represent the core beliefs of our heart. They may have been shaped by family, religion, education, community, or other influences, but they remain unique to us and also to our heart’s desire.
Values become guiding principles in our lives. They are internal, not necessarily related to our professions, religious or political practices, or other external manifestations. They are the beliefs that shape our motives and actions, the colors that we look to in order to create our color palette and navigate our world.
Values are not something to be achieved, rather, they are standards that are perpetual and ongoing. Rather than defined goals or objectives, these principles help us to choose our paths and help us to create tasks and objectives that are in line with these beliefs. We look to our values to guide our behaviors and give us direction and motivation in our lives.
Creating a Sense of Identity
Our relationship with our values may change as we change. For example, as a child, we may have placed a lot of value on winning, such as in a game or sport. As we got older, however, while success may have remained one of our guiding principles, perhaps we learned to place more value on self-acceptance. As we enter recovery, we may place more emphasis on mindfulness, connection to others, or sobriety.
Whichever values we have, or have had, in our lives, they all paint a picture for us to give us a sense of identity. They shape how we personally view the world, how we navigate our own lives, and help us to find meaning individually. The picture of who we are is painted by our values.
Honoring our Values
Within substance use, some of our values may have been neglected in our pursuit of drugs or alcohol. Rather than seeing the full spectrum of colors and values, we may have neglected some of the principles that we formerly valued the most. In fact, we may have done things or lived our lives in a way that was in direct contrast to the values we had previously placed the most importance on in our lives.
One of the best things about recovery is that it gives us the opportunity to reflect on our core beliefs and values. We may enter treatment seeing only a few colors, and in sobriety begin to see every color and hue of the principles we want to live by. We may even find values we never really thought much about before, like compassion and empathy, and choose to make those amongst our most important principles with which we live our lives.
Discovering Our Higher Purpose
Our values can connect us once again with who we are and who we want to be. As we identify the principles that are most important in our lives, our values can help us create or discover our own higher purpose in life. Values give our lives more meaning, and as we live a life that is true to our values, we can find more joy and fulfillment.
Living a life guided by the values that we have chosen to place importance on allows us to find our place in the world and to create the life and affect change in the areas that we want to. We are not just going through the motions, as sometimes people do with a job. We are creating a purpose for our lives and our actions that is based on our core beliefs and values.
As we step into recovery, we have the opportunity to reflect on the values of our heart, the guiding principles, and the ideals that help create our own sense of identity. As we honor those values, we can discover a higher purpose. In substance use, we may have lost ourselves and forgotten our values, but now we can find new meaning in living. Find the values of your life and find the joy of painting your life with a higher purpose.
Determine the colors and spectrum of your values. Learn how to live with a higher purpose. Call AToN Center at (888) 535-1516 to navigate your life with greater joy and meaning.