I’ve always thought of values as guiding principles. They inform my choices. They function like a committee I filter decisions through. But I’ve realized that there is some work involved in saying who gets to sit on that committee. And I also need to make sure that they are actually working in alignment with what I really want in my life. They aren’t a board that was elected and then makes decisions on my behalf. I appoint them.
I was reading about social desirability bias this week. According to Wikipedia, “In social science research, social desirability bias is a type of response bias that is the tendency of survey respondents to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others. It can take the form of over-reporting "good behavior" or under-reporting "bad," or undesirable behavior. The tendency poses a serious problem with conducting research with self-reports, especially questionnaires. This bias interferes with the interpretation of average tendencies as well as individual differences.”
Social desirability has a lot to do with the values that we choose. Think about all of the things you say you value and then the choices you make that seem to contradict what you say you believe.
I may say I value my health but then I choose to sit on the couch eating a bag of Smart Food popcorn, drinking cider and binge watching my current Netflix obsession. You would be right to question if I really value my health.
Working with a spiritual director, therapist and coach have all been useful for me in helping me to identify my true values. Not the ones I think I should have but the ones I really do have. And the ones I was to be guiding my life. I’m working on a course to launch this fall. I'll be announcing more about it in the next month. In one lesson I plan to take participants through a deep dive into values.
On one of the earlier episodes of Reframe Your Life we talked about values. It was good for me to go back and listen to it again. In that episode we shared this quote:
Do you know what your values are? If you feel unaligned in your life. Or you aren't seeing the changes you want to see or making progress in the direction of your goals. It might be a good idea to explore your true values. And join the mailing list to find out more about this new course!