It took me 26 years before I sat down and put some thought into what I valued most in life. That’s a pretty long time to be living with no real understanding of what fulfilled me.
Looking back I can see myself as a bit of a floater in my early 20’s. I’d breeze in and out of jobs and friendship groups with no real qualifier if they would be satisfying for me.
It wasn’t until I clarified what my core values were, that I could start shifting my decisions so my values were reflected in everything I did.
When I compared my values to my life choices, it indicated old patterns that were no longer serving me.
I value authenticity but I used to sit quietly and not speak up when people were gossiping.
I value a sense of exploration, but I often found my previous friends and relationships were stuck in the same routine each weekend with no desire to try new things.
I value spirituality, but I had no daily practice in place that would allow me to connect with my higher self.
I decided I was going to stop living my life based on what my friends and family were doing, and start making conscious decisions that were more aligned with my values.
At first, it felt a little bit clunky….
I would politely shut down gossiping which instantly created an awkward silence. Then something shifted, people eventually stopped bringing those conversations to me.
I made an effort to try new activities that were out of my comfort zone, even if on my own. The first event was a painting class, which I was terrible at. After a few extra paint classes, I slowly started to see my skill was improving. Now a year later, I paint at home every month to relax and zone out.
I knew I would only maintain a daily routine if it was comfortable and convenient. So I set up a small space in my home with a meditation cushion, a gratitude journal and one of my favourite candles.
Taking the time to consciously decide which behaviours served me and which behaviours didn’t, has been one of the most beneficial exercises I’ve completed. Sure, it takes a bit of practice because at first we get tempted to slip back into our old ways. Sometimes we can feel like an outsider for having different values to our friends and family.
What I’ve learned is, that no matter how much I felt like I was the ‘odd one out’, there is no better feeling than knowing you have the personal strength to carve out a life that feels aligned to your truth.
Find out more about Ash Smithies and The Soul Project.