Clarify Your Values

Many people find it difficult to think meaningfully about their ideal life. Try this exercise instead and clarify your values by looking at things you dislike instead.

Many clarity exercises ask you to look at your ideal day, your ideal life, or your ideal partner as a way to discover your values. But that’s often not helpful. We would all like to find a way to make an excellent living while working part time and traveling the world, writing the Next Great American Novel, or being fully devoted to family.

Instead, this exercise looks at what you don’t like or don’t want as a way to discover where your values truly lie. It can be overwhelming to think of what you do want in life, but often it’s easy for us to think of things we haven’t liked. Your ideal is often nebulous and may change as you grow. But things you dislike often stay dislikes.

So here are the statements. Fill them out with sentences or bullet points, and don’t worry about how much you may put down. And once you have a picture of what you don’t like and don’t want in your life, look at how you can change your life to minimize and eliminate the things that you hate and replace them with things you don’t hate.

  1. I feel most unhappy when I…
  2. I dread …
  3. I am good at but do not particularly enjoy…
  4. I cannot imagine doing … every day for the rest of my life.
  5. I don’t understand why anybody would…
  6. … does not appeal to me.

If you want help looking at your life with a view of minimizing what you truly dislike, therapy can help you look deeper at your history of negative experiences and pull out what in particular you disliked. And therapy can help you shift your relationships at home, at work, and within yourself to shift your life away from the things you hate and toward something richer and fuller.

Contact me at 831-531-2259 or leftcoastmft@gmail.com to schedule a consultation.

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