In your day-to-day interactions with those most important to you, how often do you find yourself letting your emotions get the best of you?

When this happens, you might feel stuck.  You might have said something or done something that hurt the relationship.  And you might be left feeling frustrated, misunderstood, and, in retrospect, perhaps a little ashamed.

This is when our emotions can drive us to act in ways that cut us off from connection and the intimacy that we all need and crave.

The first place to start is by recognizing and labeling the emotion – instead of identifying with it– and then putting some distance between you and the emotion.  For example, you might notice feeling sad or telling an old story of not being good enough.

It’s then that we can start to act in a way that brings us closer to others and in line with what is most important to us.  That’s where values come in and guide us.

According to renowned life coach, Tony Robbins, becoming aware of your values is the key to making wise choices in all aspects of your life.

According to Tony Robbins in his bestseller, Awaken the Giant Within, “anytime you have difficulty making an important decision, you can be sure that it’s the result of being unclear about your values.”

Here are 3 ways you can uncover your values:

1.        Identify what is most important to you.  Check out this list of values.

2.        Ask yourself who you want to be – to yourself, to your kids, your spouse, co-workers.  Notice when and where you can make decisions and choices from your most important values.

For example, when you’re caught in an emotional reaction with someone, you might be justified in your reaction, but is that reaction bringing you closer to who you want to be?

When my kids were younger, there were times I wanted to protect them and felt compelled to reach out to a teacher or another parent.  But after making my share of mistakes, I learned to first ask myself did I want to be that parent?

3.        Before you make a choice or act, ask yourself if you’re acting in line with your most important values and who you want to be.

There are small shifts we can make at any given moment.  When at home with your kids, for example, instead of immediately reaching for your phone, you might give them a hug.

This is the “value” of values – consistently making sure that what you do and how you act reflects what is most important to you.

And once we know our values, we can use them as a roadmap to guide even the smallest decisions to bring us closer to the people we care about most.

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