I remember back when I was in primary school there was a girl I really liked. I wanted to be close to her, talk with her and be friends with her. But I felt so uncomfortable with myself and so shy and not worthy of taking up the space and time of other people or being someone’s friend. I was very insecure. So I never even talked to her. Everybody around me knew that I liked her. I think she liked me too. At some point our teacher asked me if I would like to switch seats and sit next to her, which was really sweet of her. In one way I liked that, but at the same time I felt really ashamed and it was very painful for me. I felt so unable to speak my truth, so blocked of saying what my feelings are and communicating honestly. Unable to stand up for myself and connect with someone. This was an issue that stayed with me for many years and I put in a lot of work to connect with how I am actually feeling. To discover what I actually want and then to communicate this in an honest way to other people. In a way where I’m just sharing what is there for me and then if it resonates with someone – there can be a connection. This issue of values and speaking one’s truth is a very dear topic for me. It is very close to my heart and it has influenced all areas of my life. This is what I want to talk about today.
What if you can really connect with what your values and your true feelings are? And when you are communicating with other people – you can stay with your truth and can honestly say what is on your heart and in your mind. If there are people who have different views and a different approach to life – you don’t start hiding or acting in a way where you are misalignment with your own values. Instead you feel comfortable being who you are and you feel comfortable holding the values you are holding. You feel confident enough to assert them in your sphere of influence. That is a simple and beautiful way to live your life with self-love and self-respect. Of course sometimes we have to adapt. Other people also have their values which are as valid as ours. Everybody has a different approach to life, different things which they like or dislike. In the end we want to find a way in which we can connect harmoniously with others – but in order to do that we have to gain absolute clarity about what our values are first. If you start compromising before you even know what is in your heardt and what you want then you are going to go through a lot of pain. I have experienced plenty of this pain first-hand in the past. Sometimes it is best if there is a situation or relationship with another person, which is not in alignment with your values, to just walk away and not to make a compromise. To leave the situation and just let it be. Sometimes that is better and more in alignment with your values and what’s good for you. At other times there are ways we can connect and find a harmonious solution. Many times I have found that when I am honest and clear, other people appreciate this and many times they rethink their decision or values and agree with my point of view or course of action. At other times I realise that my own values aren’t that fruitful or beneficial in a certain situation and another person has a better “angle” on things and a more constructive solution and then I change my approach. But you can only do this from a place where you know what is there in your heart at that time (of course values and opinions change). So we have to connect with that: There is something going on inside of us – feelings, ideas and our values concerning a topic or situation. We usually have a gut feeling. But when there are other people who are involved as well, who are in our team or maybe even superiors who have more “power” in a given situation, we might forget what is really “ours”. This also happens if we are afraid of conflict or of losing another person or making them angry.
The first step for feeling what is real for you, for feeling your values, is to make it just about you. For some moments or for a few minutes put away what other people think, the constraints of the situation, maybe some people don’t like it or you think “Oh it might sound selfish”. Just put all of those aside and listen and feel into your heart and make it just about you. What do you want in that situation? What are you feeling? If it would depend only on you – if nobody else would be affected and you could decide on your own – what would you decide? What feels true for you? What is your honest opinion? What is the course of action you want to take? What are your values connected with this situation? Just try to feel that first while leaving out all the rest. Once you have that clear feeling: Think about the situation and the people involved or go into that situation and notice what happens to that feeling, attitude and the clarity you discovered on your own. Sometimes you might notice that it immediately shifts. Then you have to ask yourself: “Am I lying to myself? Am I pushing my intuition away because I’m afraid of conflict?”. When it changes really quickly and switches to the opposite this is often just our need to fit in or to avoid conflict and have harmony. Our need to connect and stay connected with someone and not lose them or make them angry. If you want to be happy then you have to be more connected with what is important to you than with what other people think of you. You have to live with yourself 24 hours of the day – nonstop. Your heart and mind remembers if you neglect to respect your own values and you are going to suffer from that. It should always be your priority to stay congruent with your own values first. Sometimes we have to take care of other people and put our needs seecond and sometimes it is necessary to compromise because we have to work together with people who have different values. When you have clarity about your own values then you will know whether you want to compromise and also on which points you would rather not compromise. Then you will also feel when it is necessary to stand up for your values and speak your truth. Once you start doing this you will notice how good this feels. To actually have this clarity and then communicate honestly with people. Others will respect you more and you will be able to connect with people who resonate with what you really believe and what you are really feeling. They will have similar attitudes and you’ll connect in a great way. You don’t have to fake anything, you are just being honest and thus it is much more effortless to communicate. You take off the pressure of trying to fit in, pushing yourself in this or that direction. Does this sound good? Remember there is a process to this. You have to put in energy and train your awareness. It is going to be challenging at times.
The morning I recorded the video something happend that inspired me to talk about this topic. My mother-in-law was visiting and taking care of my son for a few days. I really like her and she is a very kind person and takes great care of him. Yet there were some things with the food and I felt uncomfortable speaking about it. I listened to myself and I felt: “I don’t want him to eat that kind of food” but it is uncomfortable to tell her and she might not feel appreciated. I was split about this on the inside but then I decided that I had to talk about it. I decided to say it in a way that was very appreciative of what she is doing and her values (which may be different than mine). So this is a situation within my sphere of influence. What my son eats or does not eat is his mother’s and my decision. With some things in our life we simply are the leader and there is no need to compromise our values. Like how you spend your time, the food you eat, how you raise your children and many other things. Sometimes we have to make a compromise and sometimes it is better to walk away. At other times still we simply have to trust our own intuition and assert ourself when other people do something that does not feel right to us. There is no need to debate or explain things yet it still takes energy and we have to stand up for ourself and communicate effectively. So this morning I felt uncomfortable and I had to push myself a little to speak about the matter, but then it turned out to be very harmonious. She could appreciate my request and I tried to get a vibe of respect and appreciation across to her. It’s great when you can speak about such things even if it may be challenging for you at times. You are going to feel so much more comfortable with yourself.
One thing that really helps with communicating your values to other people is what I call I-messages: This is when you talk about yourself and your feelings, rather than concepts, reasoning or external objects. You don’t say: “Bananas are unhealthy”, and try to discuss it but you say: “I don’t like bananas”. If you have children for example you can say: “I don’t want my children to to eat bananas”. Now that’s just your opinion. If the other person asks you then you can say: “I’m not feeling good about this”, maybe explain your reasons if you like. But you actually don’t have to justify. These are your values and feelings and if somebody does not like them: they are free to not like them. It’s still your decision. You don’t have to discuss such decisions with other people. If you feel something you just say it: “I’m feeling this way about it”. Nobody can say anything against your feelings – that’s what you are feeling, your intuition, your opinion. It’s even better when you use the word “feel”. People can’t attack you on that. You’re not debating properties of things or facts. You’re just sharing your values and gut-feeling on something. If you listen to your intuition, that’s not only a valid foundation for decisions but also something you can say to other people. If someone asks you: “Why did you come to that decision?”, you can say: “It’s from my intuition, my gut feeling”. In the beginning this might be hard, especially if you are not used to speaking your truth and to asserting yourself. It’s so valuable when you can say: “Yes, I am feeling this. This is why I have decided this way, that’s the way I want it”. If you can be in alignment with yourself like this it is a great thing. It feels very good and makes life much simpler, when you let go of adapting in every situation, fit in with other people or try to control the way people view you. Instead you just say: “This is what I believe – these are my views on the matter. That’s it. This is my course of action. Because I am feeling this way, because of my intuition”. Maybe because of some other reasons, if you have some other reasons. But maybe it’s just your intuition. Many times I am doing things just because my gut feeling says so. That’s it. If somebody would come and say: “Oh, you haven’t thought about it enough” then maybe I would consider it, or maybe I’m going to say: “No. It’s okay. I’m used to trusting my intuition. I trust my intuition. It’s fine, I’m going to do it that way.”
I really encourage you to begin feeling into this in your own life. In the beginning you have to start by feeling it for yourself, without other people. Put away everything else, just feel yourself. Act like there would be no consequences for anybody. Try to get this really honest feel for what’s in your heart and in your mind. Then once you have that: see how it changes when you think about talking about it with others or when coming into a situation with other people. If how you are feeling about things shifts very quickly then it’is probably a sign that things are moving in the direction of “I’m trying to fit in”, or “I’m trying to avoid conflict”, or “I’m trying to not lose the other person”. Then re-assess and remind yourself: It’s more important to be true to yourself, to your own values and to actually having a harmonious relationship with yourself first, because you are with yourself non-stop, 24 hours of the day. You can’t hide things from yourself – you will always know if you are lying to yourself. If you are doing something that is not good for you and you still do it, trying to fit in. Then you will feel uncomfortable. But if you listen to yourself and you speak honestly it will feel very good. Of course sometimes we have to put our needs second, yet it’s always good to have this clarity about what we want. This helps not only ourselves but also our connection with other people. You become very visible and real to others because people know what you think and feel and you are being direct and honest. Thus it’s easier for people to connect with you. As for people who don’t appreciate your values – they’re maybe not going to connect with you. But that’s okay. Also remember to use I-messages like: “I feel this or that way about it”. Trust your intuition and don’t be afraid to say: “I’m doing this because I’m feeling that way, because that’s my intuition”. Enjoy standing up for yourself. It’s really good to do that. It has helped me a lot. I’ve suffered so much from this and I’ve put in a lot of work and still try to improve in this area and it’s totally possible to change. It’s so great to invest energy into this and you are going to be so much happier when you’re being honest with yourself and standing up for yourself more.