Barb Kirby June 2017 Scrivener Magazine

As we age, the ability to make our own choices and decisions can slip away from us.

We start to lose decision-making ability . . . perhaps not because we are incapable but because we tend to consider decisions differently, giving them more thought and time. Yet the world around us is becoming more fast-paced; it seems everyone wants instant answers without the time to hear us out.

How do we continue to be recognized and satisfied that our voice is heard?

If we want to be treated with respect, we need to know and to align our personal choices so they match our core values and beliefs. That may be challenging but it’s an integral part in helping us make choices that ultimately lead to greater peace of mind and contentment.

  • Our personal values are a central part of who we are and how we want to be identified. By expressing our values, those around us will have a better opportunity to respect who we are as individuals.
  • Core values are a person’s fundamental beliefs and the guiding principles that dictate our behaviour and actions. As we grow up and are influenced by our families, schools, churches, and so on, our core values help us determine right from wrong and influence the paths we carve in fulfilling our life goals.

We can sense that our core values are being lived by the amount of peace, joy, and contentment we have in our lives.

Perhaps you are a naturally happy person most of the time but, if you don’t give thought to putting the right plans in place for the future, life situations can rapidly go wrong.

In your daily life, your core values may be challenged. You may choose to tolerate a situation even though it makes you feel uncomfortable. If the compromise continues for any length of time, it can affect your well-being, leading to depression and feelings of isolation. That can become an insidious form of self-abuse that you, your family, and even the support staff working in public and private care do not see.

The tapestry of who you are is built on your beliefs and core values. If the support people around you are not aware of how you feel and if they don’t understand your desire or need to practise certain rituals or routines, you may experience inner turmoil.

Our beliefs are contextual, based on assumptions of what we think we know and what we’ve learned to be true. Examples that can affect our lifestyle include our belief in a specific religion and its practices, cultural beliefs, thoughts about the environment, and even economic status.

Recognizing your beliefs and core values and understanding how they will affect your later life will help you make the right choices. You will shine as the unique individual you are. When people respect your values, it’s much easier for you to feel harmony and at peace when you may be the most vulnerable.

Set yourself up for success right through to the end of your life. Practise self-awareness and learn how to communicate your wishes to prepare for what really should be one of the very the best stages of your life. A professional can help you clarify the lifestyle and supports that you are seeking.

Barb Kirby is a Later Life/Elder Care Planner, Advocate, and Navigator . . .

Dig Deep to Clarify Your Personal Values and Beliefs (Scrivener June 2017)

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