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How do you connect with what you value?

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There is one constant in my life that I will always value: my family. Beyond that, pretty much everything is up for grabs.

I don't remember what I used to value before my trauma. I suspect it was not much, or were things that would be of little importance to me now. What is important to me now is making sure I am helping others. Eventually I want to make sure I am helping a specific population of people, and I am trying to make sure I can do that.

Owning up to my trauma turned my life upside down. But very early on in my trauma work I knew that I was called to the service of other people with trauma. I don't know why it was so important to me. It just suddenly was. I'm sorry if this isn't very helpful. ?
I can tell ya about a few things that I value, but don't know how to tell you to find your values other than introspection and self-examination. One thing I value is humanitarianism which is an active belief in the value of human life.... Family, friends, growth, passion, compassion, self-expression, love, peace, freedom, laughter, togetherness.....all are things that I value. :)
Can speak only for me but I value my autonomy first. Second my relation with my husband. Third health the last two with flexibility since both can change without my input. At bottom: fresh air.
C’est Moi... How do I connect with what I value?

Action & Awareness.

Action is by far the most important of the two for a few reasons. Not the least of which is that I discover what I value, become aware of it more often than not, in motion. Sure, I can theorize all day long, and to some degree that’s useful. Turning things over, exploring, thinking things out has a place in my life. Larger, sometimes, than I’d care for. But it’s where the rubber meets the road, not what I think I’ll do, or want to do or have done, but actually do* that informs my character the most.

I wrote a bit on that in the Self Worth thread, below.

For example, if you value nature, or academics, or museums, or physical prowess, or spontaneity? You think those are profoundly worthwhile things / traits / endeavours*? But don’t spend time outside, or learning, or in the Arts, or using your own body (or watching others use theirs, Hey sports fans! It’s a thing, or so I’m told ;)), or acting on a whim/in the moment ? “Here’s something I view as important,.. that I do nothing about, that is not in my life, that moreover is indistinguishable from the things I don’t care about, or even despise.” will wear away at most people’s self worth over time.

Putting time and energy, word and deed, into the things one values? Into what’s meaningful to them? Actively pursuing, being a part of what one values... Builds a person up. Puts your money where your mouth is.

________ is really important to me.
I really value __________.
Oh yeah? Prove it :sneaky:

That’s the fun part.

The hard part is usually determining what one actually values.

And not being put off by seemingly inconsistent or opposite mores. Like being a person who both demands rigorous honesty and delights in mischievous lies? Might seem impossible, but Scientist by day, community theatre by night, voila. Or a thousand other variations.

Becoming the person one wants to be, determining the content of your own character? To misquote a bit... some are born with it, or have it thrust upon them, whilst others achieve it.

One may not have always been this way, or stumbled into it by accident/handed it on a silver platter, but one can decide to become it.

Decide what you value, bring it into your life. On every level. Seek it out.

As far as being aware of what I value? That can be a bit of a double edged sword if I’m not actually living by my own values, so it’s something I tend to approach cautiously when my life is all f*cked up six ways from Sunday. But it’s also a delight, and source of strength, and (word that means promoting integrity, as in personal integrity, like a shatter vase has lost its integrity... cohesiveness) and can be the glue that starts welding me’self back into something recognisable.

Practical advice...

When I can’t learn who I am and what I believe and their relative hierarchy by living it?

- (not) Word Association (a different kind of association)
- So you won the lottery...

The first is simple... break out a dictionary, or simply free write. 5 or 500 or 5,000. Doesn’t matter how many. Words you relate to, and feel close to, or aspire to. Let synonyms take you down rabbit holes. Wink at the antonyms that are just as valid in different ways. Make note when something grabs your attention whilst reading. Or when you meet someone who has a trait you admire. Find the connections that are already there, between yourself and the words... and explore them.

So I won the lottery... is a game I used to play periodically just to double check that my life was on the course I wanted it to be. Pick some obscene impossible amount of money and then spend it. (Is it literally, when it’s imaginary money, or figuratively? Huh. Not sure.) I Literally/Figuratively portioned it out including what I was giving away, and to whom, how much was going into savings, what presents I would buy, or things I would build, etc. and once I had all the “housekeeping” done... how the f*ck else would I spend it? Because what I found, was that everything I would do in imaginary land? I could in real life, simply with a different time frame involved. Fund an archeological expedition? Couldn’t do that in real life, but I could (in descending order of commitment) go to school to become an archeologist, be a paying volunteer on a dig, attend lectures by archeologists, subscribe to articles about archeology / simply read about it as an interest. <<<< This ties directly into the quoted piece above “If you value art but don’t go to museums, spontaneity but never do things on a whim, athleticism but sit on a couch all day, etc.” >>> By using the imaginary lottery winnings I could cut through all my mental bullshit of what I “should” or “could” be doing, what was acceptable, blah blah blah. It was simply a thought exercise (even though I knew where it was going). So I got to be both as wild and as practical as I wished, and only after I had my lists of adventures and philanthropy down did I worry about making them real, and to what level.
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How do you figure out what you value? What you used to value?

How about looking out for what makes you smile? Or whatever makes you want to just stop and stay with for a while? What makes you feel good?
I am not sure if any of that makes sense to you - where you are currently. I am not entirely sure how to approach it; "value" seem to be such a big word to me (maybe because I have issues with placing value on anything - I fear it will be used against me somehow).

I like the small things. I value my ability to notice the small things; rain drops on a leaf, a tiny flower amongst the grass, my cat chasing a leaf in the wind or relaxing in a ray of sunlight. But I'm not sure I am coming at this from the same direction you are.
IDK can't do this. I don't mind. I thought I'd get involved in things or causes like helping others with cPTSD and CSA. I thought I'd get involved with Autism as a cause.

But, since I can't get along with anyone? Probably not. So even if I knew the answer I'm not sure I'd be able or interested in getting involved anyway. : )

I value my spouses opinion about how I'm doing. She's invested a lot of time as my main supporter. I didn't have to figured that one out? She told me. : )
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