In the book I’m reading, ‘How confidence works’ by Ian Robertson I found this set of personal values:
Relationship with family and friends
Having a sense of humour (I didn’t know this can be a value)
Business or work
Religious or moral values
Living life for the moment; being spontaneous
The purpose of the exercise was to find the value that we feel is the most important and visualise how we express it in our life; this exercise is called self-affirmation.
I had to, rather reluctantly, admit that the most important value for me is independence. Why reluctantly? Because it doesn’t seem to be valued by society, unless one achieves something extraordinary like being a famous mountain climber. It also wasn’t valued by my mum. She would preferred me to have a family over being a solo traveller, but then I suppose she was kind of happy that I was ‘at least’ travelling. I ‘at least’ had my own flat. She would shovel those facts on anybody who was around.
Business and work are not really that important, possibly only slightly more important than political commitment but it feels to me like I manipulate their importance to elevate my independence. If I was successful, being independent would make much more sense and would be valued by others. I may need to assume, unfortunately, that I will never become successful. And then what?
This exercise strangely lifted my depression. Possibly that’s what I’m doing wrong: I have my values all mixed up and don’t listen to the voice of my own mind. However, it feels to me like something is missing from that list, something very important to me, and I don’t quite know what it is.