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Dr. Landrum's Blog

                                                                                  March 31, 2017

The importance of having values

 

Our values serve an important purpose in our lives.   They help guide us in our direction of choice.  Values are things we find important in our lives, yet many of us compromise our values all the time to please others.

We learn to appreciate values by living life from childhood throughout adulthood.   Our parents and teachers provide us with our first lessons on values.   It’s funny, because they don’t say “here’s a value you need to learn,” they actually teach us by modeling particular behaviors for good or not.  Does that make sense?  

We keep or discard some of the values we learned growing up and tend to constantly replace or add to our repertoire of things that are important to us as individuals.  Some examples of personal values that some people have are: religion, work ethic, family stability, autonomy, good physical and mental health, freedom of choice and service to others to name a few.  Think of some of your own.

Many people seek counseling when they step out on their own and begin to grow as independent individuals; some of their beliefs and values shift in a different direction than what they learned in their nuclear home.  When this happens, the result can be extreme anxiety for these particular individuals; making them great candidates for counseling.

When we choose partners, we need to choose someone with similar values to our own.  Many relationships break up because people don’t tend to feel the same things are important in life. 

Man trapped in mental prison

 

Try writing a short or long paragraph (don’t type, write) of 8 to 10 of your most coveted values and why they are so important to you.   When you write your paragraphs, don’t worry about what others “should do or not do” just stay focused on your own reasons for valuing these things.  You just might learn something about yourself.   

 

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Our boundaries describe a "personal space" that others need to respect.  As well as we need to respect other's boundaries, but we and they need to communicate what our boundaries are before we try to protect them.  But how will each of us know what's a boundary for the other?   Communication!   Yes, we need to communicate our boundaries especially when our boundaries may be out of the norm of what most of society considers a boundary.  There are many boundaries that are specific to certain cultures; then certain people can have what some may consider strange boundaries.   However, it is not necessary for you to explain your boundaries to anyone.   Just let them know that it is a boundary for you.  Don't go along just to get along.   If you don't express your discomfort regarding a boundary, then it truly is not a firm boundary for you.   In other words, let the person/s know that you will be uncomfortable if they violate the expectations that you have for their actions.  A counselor can assist you with learning to set boundaries, especially if you are a person who has never wanted to "make anyone angry" by setting boundaries.

 A few tips on setting boundaries:

Most of us learned about boundary setting as children; things like not allowing anyone to touch you anywhere that caused discomfort for you.  

One of the most important things for you to remember is that you are not responsible for the other person's reaction to you letting them know your boundaries.  In other words, you did not make them angry, sad, etc.  That reaction belongs to that person.  We are all responsible for our own feelings.   I repeat.   We are all responsible for our own feelings.

Remember that not everyone will appreciate the "new you" with your boundaries;  and may even get upset with you.   The "old you" who may not have set boundaries was the person others could take advantage of and many probably liked that you.  Once again, a counselor can help you with this.   Having boundaries about things that are important to you is extremely important to your growth, self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence.

Even if you feel afraid when you are setting a boundary, do it anyway.  Many people may not know that they are crossing the line unless you let them know.  

Don't set a boundary unless you are serious about it.  

You may need to set a boundary if you are whinning or complaining about a particular situation. Keep aware of your physical reactions when you feel uncomfortable doing something.   Your body is trying to let you know a boundary needs to be set.  

Our boundaries and behavior need to be congruent.  No means no!   Remember that No is also a complete sentence.

Make a list of some of your own boundaries.  Remember if it makes you feel uncomfortable, it's probably something tugging at you to set a boundary.  If you are experiencing excessive anxiety, your list of your own boundaries is probably fairly short.   Your counselor can help you learn to set good boundaries, which is one great way to help lessen your anxiety.