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Live the Valued Life You Want!

Family – it's a word that instantly conjures up a mix of emotions, doesn't it? For many of us, family is like the default setting on our life's GPS, guiding us in ways we don't always realise. Here in Malaysia, where care taking by extended families are as common as nasi lemak at breakfast, grandparents often step in as primary caregivers while our parents are off being superheroes at work. And then, there are those of us who grew up under the watchful eyes of aunts, uncles, or even babysitters. No matter the setup, these early influencers are like the first chefs in the kitchen of our minds, adding their own flavors to our developing tastes in values.

So, here's the big question: how do these early influences shape our interaction with the world? Imagine our worldviews as a patchwork quilt, each square lovingly stitched by those who cared for us. Some squares are bright and bold, others more subdued, each representing a value or belief instilled in us. But guess what? As we grow, we sometimes feel the urge to pick up a needle and thread and add our own squares. That's the beauty of being human – we evolve.

I remember a time when I used to think I was this lone wolf, independent of my family's influence. Oh, how naive I was! Turns out, I was more like a sponge, soaking up values and beliefs without even realizing it. I even sounded like my mom! As we go through life, we often find ourselves at crossroads where our adopted values clash with new ones we encounter. For instance, the traditional value of respecting elders can sometimes be at odds with our own experiences of fairness and equality. It’s like trying to blend old family recipes with new ingredients – the outcome can be unexpectedly delicious or a little hard to swallow.

Enter Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a modern-day guide in the journey of life. ACT doesn’t just say, “Here, follow these values.” Instead, it’s like a wise old sage that nudges you to live a life aligned with your personal values, amidst the chaos of conflicting emotions and thoughts. It's about finding your true north and navigating life’s choppy waters with your values as your compass.

Photo by Mediamodifier on Unsplash

But how do we figure out what these values are? Here’s a starter kit of 20 common values to help you get going. Remember, it’s not about adopting them all. It's like going to a buffet; you don’t need to pile every dish on your plate. Start by shortlisting ten, then whittle it down to five, and finally, pick the top three that resonate with you the most. This way, you’re not overwhelming yourself, even with the good stuff. Your can even mix them up like a fusion dish e.g. Family Relationships and Friendships can be merge into one value called Connections.

  1. Family Relationships: Like the roots of a tree, these are the bonds that ground us.

  2. Friendship: The chosen family that walks with us through life’s ups and downs.

  3. Love and Intimacy: The glue that holds our hearts together in this wild ride called life.

  4. Parenting: A role that’s as challenging as it is rewarding.

  5. Work/Education: Our contributions to the world and our pursuit of knowledge.

  6. Recreation/Leisure: Because all work and no play makes life a dull journey.

  7. Spirituality: Our connection to something greater than ourselves.

  8. Community Life: Being part of something bigger, and giving back.

  9. Health/Physical Well-being: Treating our body like the temple it is.

  10. Personal Growth and Development: Because we’re all works in progress.

  11. Creativity: Our imagination unleashed.

  12. Environment/Nature: Our duty to Mother Earth.

  13. Honesty: The best policy, even when it’s tough.

  14. Independence: Standing on our own two feet.

  15. Compassion/Empathy: Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.

  16. Justice: Standing up for what’s right.

  17. Adventure: The spice of life.

  18. Professionalism: Bringing our A-game to the table.

  19. Generousity: Sharing is caring.

  20. Mindfulness: Living in the now, savoring each moment.

As we usher in 2024, let’s be flexible with our values. They’re meant to evolve as we do. It's all about finding that sweet spot where your actions and values dance together in perfect harmony. So go ahead, set your compass, and let's live the valued life you want! 🌟🧭

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