Values: What are they and what can they do for you?

Liesel Teversham

Liesel helps HSP introverts to embrace their sensitivity as a superpower, and overcome obstacles so they can thrive. She also works with clients to solve their health issues, and has authored 2 books. More here.

Published on 2014/01/31

(If you prefer this material in audio format, please scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find an audio player.)

I was working with a really amazing client recently. She’s working through my new program “Six Weeks to a Guilt-Free No” and making enormous strides. She does homework diligently, is stepping out of her comfort zone, soaks up knowledge like a sponge and does her own tapping between the sessions.

The topic of yesterday’s Module with my beautiful client was “Values”. We first EFT’ed an enormous memory that had had huge ripple effects throughout the rest of her life.

Maybe it was just the right moment for her, after this heart-opening experience and clearing out years of suffering because of one limiting belief.

Whatever the reason, suddenly she really wanted to get to know her values. She said “I’ve read so many books telling me about values, what they are, why I should have them and I always felt like a mountain was on my shoulders whenever I tried to think about my own”.

So I tried to make it easy for her. She loved understanding what Values can DO for her and I thought I could share a few thoughts here with you, too.

What are Values?

Values are those qualities or things that we feel like we NEED in order to be happy. They’re 100% personal – my values may be very different to yours and that’s neither right nor wrong. No-one can tell anyone else what their values should be. Values are sometimes “inherited” because of the environment we grow up in, or they can be totally different from the values of our family. We normally choose to spend time with people whose values are similar to our own.

Jerry Lopper says “Your personal values are what’s important to you; not something you want or would like to have, but something you literally need in your life to be happy. A value is a principle or quality intrinsically valuable or desirable to you. Values are personal. They are your convictions, your beliefs, and your ethics rolled into one. Your personal code of values may be identical to your family’s values. Or they may be dramatically different.” 1

Some examples of values are:

Acknowledgement Affection
Love Connection
Money Simplicity
Family time Making a difference
Knowledge Excellence
Gratitude Health
Freedom Harmony
Learning Teaching
Perseverance Patience

Can you see what a wide variety there is? I shared an exhaustive list of values in my book.

What makes it so interesting is that the list above can be prioritised in endless permutations. Whatever’s at the top of our list, will get more airtime (or will NEED more airtime) in order for us to feel happy. So even two people with exactly the same values on their list, ordered in different ways, will behave differently and spend their resources (time, energy, money) in different ways.

Three important reasons to discover our values

  • Values exert a major influence on our behaviour. If money is our most important value,  we’ll do different things with our time than if health was our most important value.
  • Values are like a compass. If we know our values, it makes it much easier to make decisions. “Shall I do X or Y over the weekend? Let’s look at my values. Ah yes – health is important to me, so I’ll choose the activity that will support my health.”
  • Choosing goals that are totally out of alignment with our values, often lead to big struggles and possibly a very unhappy life. For instance – “money” may be at the bottom of my list of 20 values. “Making a difference” is at the top. If I choose a goal to “Earn R1,000,000 in 6 months” I may struggle and suffer and find that goal comes at a huge price, since it’s far more enjoyable for me to do things for people for free, instead of charging them for every minute of work.

A story about the importance of Values

Betty sat down in my office. Her facial expression and the slow movements told me she was feeling really low. She told me she’d been sleeping far too much and still woke up tired. Our discussion revolved around her current health – she is a diabetic and for the past few weeks, her sugar levels were no longer effectively controlled by the medication. It was way too high and she was really worried about having to start injections.

Our discussion determined that she was incredibly unhappy at work, and has been for some time. She felt trapped, with no options, no choices and no possibilities. She felt like she had to keep doing a job she hated doing. She felt under-utilized, wasted, not stimulated, and bored out of her skull from mindlessly having to do the same tasks over and over every day. It felt like she was about to die in that position.

Most of my work in client sessions involves EFT so we addressed many of the feelings about her job with some tapping. She had a huge knot in her stomach and shoulder tension to start with, which increased every time she said the word “trapped”. It was really hitting home!

As we tapped, she started feeling less tension in her shoulders and stomach and we started exploring what’s important to her in a job. She used words like

  • Challenges and variety
  • Learning and growing
  • Teaching and training
  • Communication and interaction with people
  • Creating awareness and “aha’s”
  • Creativity and doing things her way

We took stock of her current job and she realised that not one of the above needs were being met. Not a single one. She was stuck behind a computer, in a management role, interacting with maybe 3 or 4 people on occasion.

Betty’s values were not being met in her current work environment. She hated going to work every day, asking herself the question “Why am I still going there” every time she started on the long 60 minute commute. She lived a desperately unhappy life and it was severely affecting her sugar levels and health.

Are values important? And is it important that they are met? You bet.

Our values are key to understanding how to live a happy life, how to decide where to say “yes” and where to say “no”. Life is fulfilling and free of stress when we live in accordance to our own personal values. That sounds very appealing, does it not?

In another blog, I’ll share an exercise to determine your values. It’s fun, it’s important and it can lead to a whole new take on life and reaching your goals!


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