Values

I have this re-occurring dream that I cannot find my car. I think it is in a certain parking lot, but there are barriers to me getting to that area. I walk around trying to find a way to get in and when I do, my car isn’t there. In these dreams there are lots of obstacles that I find in my way. I just want to get home.

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I think the interpretation is that I don’t have a way to get where I want to. I am feeling trapped. Now that I’m not working, I have had a feeling of being untethered and have aimlessly been going through my days deciding what to do when I feel like doing it. I realized that I wasn’t feeling productive and I was lonely.

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“True to your Word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” Psalm 23:3

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What I need are values to live by. Tenets that help me to determine the things I should and want to do in my life. Value are ideals or principles that are important to us. It’s not like you choose your values and set up an action plan and do it and it’s over. It’s setting up the ideals that you want to live by and creating actions that exemplify them. It’s living the good life with some self-direction!

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God should be a part of this exercise because who knows you better than he does? His guidance and direction can lead you to see things that you can’t see for yourself. I started me values list with a mindfulness exercise asking God to show me areas in my life that need to be fulfilled. Values are our guiding compass and those of us who love God know that He is in charge of that compass. If we live like Jesus we will be fulfilled.

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I referred to the DBT section on Values and created some of my own in order to have a life worth living:
• Choose to be Spiritual
• Attend to family relationships
• Reconnect with friends
• Contribute
• Take care of myself physically

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Carnegie Mellon has a PDF about determining your values, It starts with a very long list of core values from which you choose the ones that apply to you. The thought is to write it down or highlight without thinking too hard about it. Next you group together similar values to make a list of no more than five categories. Than choose one work from each list that best identifies the value you want in your life.

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I used the Carnegie Mellon PDF along with the DBT list to come up with my core values. Now it’s up to me to make sure the things I do each day match up with these values. I wrote out some beginning steps for each of the values and saved the list in my phone Notes app so I can refer to it easily and I shared it with my therapist.

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Being spiritual to me is going to church, doing daily devotionals and reading uplifting and positive books. Prayer also plays a big part in leading a spiritual life. I know God has purpose for me and by praying and communing with Him I can find that purpose. Meanwhile I can take steps to improve my day to day living.

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I can attend to my family relationships by being a support to my husband and providing direction and friendship with my children. I can keep contact with family far away by phone. One of the things I decided to do was make a budget for my daughter to help her navigate her financial life. I am going out to lunch with my daughter Hillary this week. I also decided to meet my husband for lunch regularly and do at least one fun thing every weekend like going to a movie.

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I called up an old friend and set up a lunch date and scheduled myself to work the local food pantry. I’ve been baking more which is something I enjoy, and my family appreciates.

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When I was at church I saw a notice on the bulletin board for volunteering at a local hospital. I took down the number, called it and am now working on my application packet. I went to my doctor to have her fill out her section, I contacted friend and asked them to fill out the references section and soon I will have a complete packet to bring to the hospital for an interview.

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Contribution is a big part of my values. I think if I can give back, have purpose, that a lot of my depression can be thwarted. I also believe that God is leading me this way. My therapist tells me that volunteering is key. That I could find fulfillment as well as create a commitment to which I am depended on.

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I’ll keep you posted!

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“So you’ll go out in joy, you’ll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. Al the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause.” Isaiah 55:12