Have you got into a rut in your life?
It’s common enough. You’re in a rut and find yourself in a difficult situation. Remember that you’re not broken, simply stuck. And there are choices to be made.
Maybe you’ve lost touch with what is really important to you. You’ve forgotten who you really want to be. It’s easy to become disconnected from your values.
Whatever difficult situation you are experiencing, you have 3 approaches from which to choose:
Option 1 Leave the situation you are in
You may be in a job you hate, a relationship that’s gone sour or you live somewhere that’s not working out for you.
If you leave the situation this may, or not, be the breakthrough choice. Ask yourself, will your life be richer, fuller and more meaningful if you leave the situation you are in?
The choice to leave takes courage – you may fear change. And the unknown. Yet to stay stuck feels more like imprisonment.
If you can’t leave, or it really won’t resolve how you feel, then you have 2 other options.
Option 2 Stay
And change what can be changed.
Accept what can’t be changed and make sure you are living by your values. As the person you really want to be.
With this choice you take control of your behaviour.
So What are Your Values?
What feels right in your heart could be described as your values. They’re the kind of things you believe in – the best way you wish to behave. The kind of person you want to be. Your values are just as important for option 1 and option 2.
As a parent, what is important to you? It might include to be loving, honest, supportive and kind. In your job, you may bring in other values that are to do with courage, open communication and trust.
You might feel that values like love and kindness are not relevant, but sometimes, the workplace is in need of such values. In your job you may be experiencing manipulation, dishonesty, bullying or non-communication. Not tolerable.
Leave or stay? Sometimes we talk about doing a job that involves us having to ‘sell our soul’. It can be very distressing to be in a job that doesn’t support your values or allow you to be who you truly are.
Remember your values and it can be a great incentive to make a decision. Decisive choices are easier when you’re clear about your own values.
Vegans and vegetarians make food choices according to values that are important to them. Charities you support, who you bank with, where you shop, what political party you agree with.
In fact, any choices you make in your daily life can be traced back to underlying values.
Option 3 Stay
But you sleepwalk through your situation.
You lose touch with your values. You may end up behaving in self-defeating ways where you are not fulfilling your needs. There are a huge range of behaviours you find yourself doing – you may recognise some of them here:
- switch off at work and go through the motions
- give up chatting with colleagues and isolate yourself
- under socialise or over socialise
- drink more alcohol
- take drugs
- give up on self-care, avoid exercise and eat unhealthily
- engage in obsessive behaviours like gaming, endless hours of TV watching, or endangering your life with risky past-times
So with option 3 you may find you spiral downwards without resolving anything. Unhappy in your situation, but unable to free yourself.
A successful choice may seem obvious but it’s not always easy!
To leave a situation may bring up all kinds of anxiety. To stay, and address what can be changed is an everyday challenge.
Meditation can help you connect with your values and strengthen your resolve.
Finding other like-minded people who share your kinds of values can also help too.
Whatever difficult situation you are in, clarify your 3 options. And give yourself time to sit and note what your values are.
Clarify your values:
What matters to you?
What were your childhood dreams?
List your personal strengths and qualities you already have
Which character strengths would you like to develop?
If your friends were to make speeches about you, what would they be saying?
Who do you admire and what is it you admire about them?
Good luck whatever difficult situation you’re addressing right now!
Yvette – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Based on ACT by Russ Harris