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Identifying your core values

Guide to self-development (Part 4)

Photographs: Unsplash/Aina Masood

Text: Aina Masood

In the self-development series of my articles, it is time to talk about core values. They can be defined as a person’s or organization’s fundamental beliefs and/or their highest priorities. Values are learned. We learn them by interacting with our environment and the people around us. They function as building blocks for our thoughts, actions, and behaviour. They help us grow and help formulate our choices in life.

To identify what our values are, let’s look at the concept of WELLNESS WHEEL. Wellness is often thought of as being physically healthy, but the wellness wheel focuses on 7 dimensions of wellness. This idea originated from the work of Dr Bill Hettler in 1976, who initially talked about six dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, professional/career, social, and mental/intellectual. Then, another dimension was added, known as the environmental dimension.

All these dimensions contribute to our sense of self and wellness. They interact with each other, and at times, some are more prominent than others. Maintaining a balance between these is the key to self-development and enhancement.

How does the wellness wheel help us identify our values?

The wellness wheel gives a clear division of dimensions that we can use to identify our belief systems. To identify our values associated with these dimensions, let’s look at what these dimensions entail.

Environmental: using sustainable practices to care for your personal and global environment. For example, maintaining a clean home/room or using recycled clothing items.

Spiritual: possessing a set of beliefs and principles that provide us with meaning and purpose in our life. For example, trying to seek harmony between our inner and outer world.

Emotional: understanding, managing, and accepting our emotions. For example, being able to identify your feelings and express them constructively.

Professional: being aware of your career goals and finding fulfilment in work. For example, having a work/life balance, cherishing your work, investing in your career.

Intellectual/mental: being curious and open to new ideas and experiences. Take care of your mind. For example, committing time and energy to new ideas and skills.

Social: connecting with and maintaining relationships with family, friends, and community. For example, having a trusting relationship and being able to set boundaries.

Physical: Maintaining a healthy body through diet and activity. For example, eating balanced meals, walking, or exercising.

Now that we know what the wellness circle is let’s explore how we can incorporate that into our lives. To do so, I will demonstrate two experiments you can use to identify your core values.

Experiment # 1: With an understanding of what these dimensions include, take a piece of paper and a pen, sit down, and draw a circle. Now, divide the circle into seven parts and think about the values that you have that correspond to these dimensions; and how do these values reflect in your behaviour and actions.

Experiment # 2: Another approach to using the wellness wheel can be to focus on your day and think about all the activities you do. Now try to assign each activity to each of the seven dimensions and ask yourself why you did it. This is a reverse feedback activity where the behaviour has already occurred, and you are trying to uncover your beliefs about the behaviour.

Conclusively, it is crucial to know about your values, and it might get difficult but assigning your activities throughout the day to the wellness wheel and asking yourself the reasons behind doing it is an interesting self-development experiment that you can engage in. I wish you all the best on this journey of uncovering your core values.

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