Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Living for What I Value

Lately, because my school program focuses so much on helping people determine their values and beliefs, I've spend a lot of time reflecting on my own values and beliefs. I'm in my mid-twenties, and I feel most people this age are just solidifying their ideas of what they value. I'm no exception. It's very important to live as closely to one's values as one can (for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is simple happiness). This is often referred to as congruence.

In terms of congruence, it seems that some people automatically live according to their values without necessarily even needing to articulate them. In my experience, these tend to be the naturally happy, effervescent types of people. I am inspired by these people. Others, like myself, struggle with congruence.

I value my family above and beyond anything. I value generosity of spirit as well as tangible things. I value a healthy and fit lifestyle, living as closely to how nature intended as possible. I value living simply, and living with minimal "drama".

The number one value I struggle to live up to is living healthfully and staying physically active. I've been digging deep within for answers on this one, and I've come to this hypothesis:

When values are acquired through education (rather than being raised with them) and differ from habits, incongruence results.

 So, in my case, since I was raised with no particular focus on healthy or natural nutrition (not that we ate poorly), and no focus on fitness or athletics, living deliberately healthfully does not come naturally to me. My views on living naturally come from much self-directed education and a need to feel healthy and vital.

Right now, I'm struggling with a combination of factors, not the least of which is an inability to see that in many other ways I'm living according to my values. Family? Check! Generosity of spirit and tangible things? Recently I've made great progress in this area and my life feels richer as a result. Healthful eating/living? Unfortunately, no. Living close to nature? Only if you count how I am raising my son. However, I don't seem to give myself much credit for the many ways in which I'm already successful. A large part of my self-esteem comes from living healthy, and right now I'm not living healthy.

I want to lead by example. I am loathe to find myself being a "Do as I say, and not as I do" parent. None the less, I know I must be forgiving of my faults. I'm certainly not perfect, but I am doing my best hour by hour and day by day. I'm focusing on my number one value right now (family). A large majority of my non-family time is spent on school work so that I can ultimately live according to my belief that it is possible and important to be happy in one's career. I'm making natural, positive choices for my son.

The biggest hurtle in my journey to living healthfully is my food addiction. I'm not sure when it will become appropriate to chase this demon. Right now, with things in their present state, I just can't. I know I'm not ready. I don't have the mental or physical resources to deal with another thing on my plate by choice. The thing that eats at me, though, is that each day I spend living in sub-optimal health is a day that affects my life span and enjoyment. Often, I find myself thinking that if I could just hire someone to tell me how to do it (from a logistical standpoint), I'd be way better off. It's so time consuming to try and learn about how to accomplish my nutritional and fitness goals and put them into motion simultaneously. It's exhausting. I even find it exhausting to be around people who are doing it right now.

How do you live according to your values? In situations where you find yourself living incongruently, what do you do?

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