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Ever tried living out someone else’s values?

Living out someone else's values?

Living out someone else’s values?

As we come to the end of this little series of musings on values and the impact of living according to them, one thought remains. What happens when we try living out someone else’s values? When we take on for ourselves what we see others valuing, and try and make our lives fit with that whilst simultaneously denying what is central to who we really are?

Our internal workings go something like this:

That person is doing such-and-such, and he/she is much more clever/successful/wise/popular/spiritual than I am, so that must be the right thing to do so I should/ought to do that too….I will therefore squash my own needs and priorities and conform to what I think is expected of me to fit in.”

This internal dialogue is often subconscious, and I have helped many a client to unearth it and look for its roots. Only when we understand the root of our behaviour can we start to address it and make changes.

A clue is in the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts‘.

“I should behave like this because that is expected of me, and therefore I will ignore what is important to me, and who I really am to conform or fit in.”

“I ought to get involved/help out/serve in some way because that is what that popular/successful/spiritual person is doing and I can’t therefore say no.”

You get the idea. It is insidious, pervasive, all-too-common, and – like a rampant weed – very hard to uproot.

Now hear me on this – I am not saying that serving, duty and responsibility are not important. Nor am I suggesting that we all become inward looking, selfish narcissists who are only out for ourselves and what we want.

But what I am saying is this –

no one else can be you and no one else can live your life for you.

Nor can you live someone else’s life with integrity because you will not be being true to who you really are.

Let me ask you some questions –

Who is the person that you are, that no one else is, that only you can be? What is the cost of not only not being that person, but trying to be someone else – to live out someone else’s life, living out someone else’s values?

To live governed by ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ – seeing how other people are living their lives, and seeking to live with their priorities, or what we think THEY think we should be doing.

Striving. People pleasing. Hiding our real selves and not prioritising what we think is important because somehow it seems less valid or worthy than someone else’s life.

You are a unique and amazing individual. No one else on the whole planet is quite like you. Just absorb that for a minute…..

…..No one else sees the world  like you do, expresses him/herself quite like you do, has your unique blend of personality, values, skills and characteristics.

Therefore – what would it mean to simply be the person that you are – to live the life that only you can live, the way only you can? To be the thing you were created to be, and do what you’ve been created to do.

How often do we exhaust ourselves and become all twisted up trying to be someone else, or to live according to some list of qualities or characteristics or values that will make us more worthy or loved or valid or fulfilled?

How often do we get stuck trying to be someone we are not, to be someone that people outside of ourselves wanted us to be? Or that we thought we had to be to prove something or to achieve happiness, or to hide who we really are on the inside?

Perhaps instead of listening to external voices that might try to define who we should be, how we should use our time, what should be most important – perhaps instead each of us can start to understand, embrace and celebrate who we ACTUALLY are and what is most important to us as unique individuals. Of course that does not mean that we are perfect and the world has to accept us just as we are. There is always growth and inner transformation for all of us.

But we can’t really start to change from the inside until we know who we really are and are free to be that person. To let go of shoulds and oughts, of negative internal voices and loud external expectations.

Until we stop living out someone else’s values, and start living according to our own.

 

2 Thoughts on “Ever tried living out someone else’s values?

  1. Kerry Williams on February 24, 2017 at 9:02 pm said:

    Nowhere near as wise or profound as the things you write, but this week’s blog reminded me of the Dr Zeuss quote – ‘Today you are you, that is truer than true; there is no-one alive who is you-er than you’ !

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