Who are you? How do you define yourself?
These questions are often asked of us as part of a “meet and greet” for class or other activities.
When we are asked questions like this, we might be caught by surprise at how difficult these questions are to answer.
While we sometimes get lost in the lives of others and readily offer advice in times of need, it seems more difficult to look inward at ourselves.
We may offer the common advice of, “You cannot expect others to love you without loving yourself first,” while not taking time to carefully consider what this phrase really means to us.
How do we love ourselves? Perhaps part of this is taking time to determine the aspects that influence who we are and matter the most to us.
Here is a quick, 3-step exercise to explore what we value in life and, in turn, what influences who we are and who we want to become:
Values Exploration Exercise
- Review the list of sample value words and phrases below. As you look at them, identify the ones that are most important to you and those you connect with the most.
If you know of additional words or phrases that also fit you, be sure to add them to the list!
Consider not selecting values because they are socially acceptable or desirable, but instead listen to your intuition and gut instinct to identify those that truly apply to you.
After your initial review, revisit your choices and narrow them down to 8 to 10 that are most important to you.
- Once you have finalized your value choices, list them in order, with 1 being most important and 10 being least important.
Save this list to refer to in the future.
- Get specific about what your top values mean and how you will honor them in your life.
For example, a value of creativity might mean spending time painting or making music regularly.
What would your top three values look like if they were present in your world?
How would you know if you were living in accordance to them?
What steps could you take to honor them more?
- Consider the statements/questions below to further guide you in exploring this.
– I value ____. This means I ____, _____, and _____. Do I perceive there is a gap in how I am honoring this value? If so, how do I plan to close the gap?
Sample Value Words and Phrases:
Accomplishment; Accuracy; Achievement; Acknowledgment; Action; Adventure; Aesthetics; Affluence; Authenticity; Authority; Balance; Beauty; Collaboration; Community; Connectedness; Contribution; Courage; Creativity; Curiosity; Elegance; Empowerment; Excellence; Fame; Fitness; Focus; Forward the Action; Free Spirit; Freedom to Choose; Full Self-Expression; Fun; Growth; Harmony; Honesty; Humor; Independence; Innovation; Integrity; Intimacy; Joy; Lack of Pretense; Leadership; Learning; Loyalty; Nature; Nurturing; Orderliness; Participation; Partnership; Peace; Performance; Personal Power; Play; Precision; Productivity; Recognition; Risk Taking; Romance; Self Reliance; Service; Spirituality; Success; To Be Known; Tradition; Trust; Unique; Vitality; Zest
Looking inward and exploring our identity is often a challenging journey.
There are entire philosophies dedicated to the questions of “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?”
These are lifelong quandaries, and the journey of discovering them may be just as important as the answers you come to.
Please join us at our “How to Explore Like a Panther” event taking place on Wednesday, April 3rd from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in Evans Hall, Room 202 to discuss the exploration of your identity with other inquisitive students like yourselves, and begin your own personal journey of self-discovery.