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  • Writer's pictureMcKinley

A Pattern of Values and Boundaries

"We need to be intentional about prioritizing personal relationships despite societal demands and pressures. It’s time to realign our lifestyle and return to our collective and connected values so that decisions about our family culture, our work, our schedules, our spending, and our votes reflect those values." - Iris Chen

This past week in my therapy appointment, I was able to articulate something entirely new: a pattern that I previously had no words to describe.

I am physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually unable to participate in expectations that require me to compromise my core values. Up until a few months ago, I couldn't even articulate, with certainty, what my core values are.

I read Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar as part of the Certified Educational Trainer program I completed in December. There is an accompanying workbook, and one of the exercises was around knowing my core values. I took time to reflect, and came up with the initial list of nine you see on my website, plus one (life) I later came to realize in therapy.

A canvas painted with stripes in a rainbow pattern from top to bottom, with the words compassion, honesty, kindness, inclusion, transparency, trust, empathy, love, and learning in black text on it. Painted in white is a silhouette of a tree, a heart, and an open book.

When we are operating from our core values, we are better equipped to set boundaries and affirm our needs. This is true within both personal and professional relationships. We are often raised to compromise our values for the comfort of others or for maintaining the status quo - sometimes, both.

It is empowering to both know your values - and your inherent value - and assert yourself with that knowledge.

It is also a privilege to be able to be safe enough in a relationship or environment to assert your values. We often compromise our values as an act of survival, and this is very, very valid. If you are within a context to bring your values into being safely, modeling this for others can create enough safety that they can, too.

"It’s time to realign our lifestyle and return to our collective and connected values."

Your values are legitimate, whether you are surviving or thriving in any given moment.

I first thought I should have only one or two core values, but the truth is that the limit does not exist.

What are yours?

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