Joelle Fa, Psychologist, Baulkham Hills NSW
20 March 2018
What makes your life meaningful?
When you think about your day, what brings you the most joy?
What are the memories, thoughts or actions that you hold onto in hard times to make life that bit easier?
Many of us may not even know the answers to these questions and yet they are so key in understanding what truly makes us happy. Perhaps these questions fill you with instant confusion, hurt or even dread. They may be questions that you have avoided thinking about, maybe they have been put in the ‘too hard’ basket when the everyday demands of life are thrown at you. I know, I’ve been there.
A Quick Exercise to Help You Find the Key to Happiness
What if you took 10 minutes to sit down and understand what is most important to you in life?
Ten minutes of no distractions.
Consider: if you looked back on your life from your deathbed, what would you want to have stood for?
For me, it so often comes down to relationships. If I make decisions which take me away from being able to connect with my friends or family, I notice that I am more agitated, on edge and frustrated with myself and others.
The Choice Point: Connecting with your Values
The pivotal point comes in recognising that everyday we are faced with a choice: to act in a way aligned with our values, or to act in a way which takes us away from what we value. When I choose to tend to my work emails when I get home, rather than preparing dinner for my family, I am taking a step away from valuing my relationships. Of course, both work and relationships are good things, however they stack up differently on the level of value they bear in my life.
Leading a values-driven life isn’t always easy. In fact sometimes making values-based decisions may come at a cost. It may mean that we have to experience discomfort or even distress in service of our values, it may mean not letting our emotions guide our behaviour, which can be extremely difficult. We must consider if this is something we are willing to endure in order to bring us closer to the person we want to be.
Next time you come to a decision, take a moment to check in with yourself- is this decision taking me towards what I value most? If the answer is no, perhaps it’s time to consider what would bring you closer to what matters most.
If you liked this post, you can find more about values-based actions here: https://resilient-traveling.umich.edu/skills/values-based-action
Psychologist, Baulkham Hills NSW
Joelle is a psychologist who is passionate about assisting people of all ages and backgrounds live their life to the fullest by learning skills to solve everyday problems, such as managing stress and anxiety and dealing with conflict in relationships. She loves seeing people learning and growing from challenges, and utilising a combination of psychological skills and their unique strengths to live a meaningful life.