Find Your Values, Find Yourself

Written by Lisa Rodelo Hanna

Self-discovery happens every day: as you grow, as you learn, as you make your way through the world.  There is an ebb and flow to this process, but it continues throughout your entire life.  This is the evolution of your true self.  The process is dynamic, but it is based on a set of static principles called values.
At the start of your journey things were simple.  Your priorities were swinging from monkey bars and putting sprinkles on all of your deserts.  The playground was your kingdom and everyone was a friend. There were no responsibilities, no deadlines and your greatest care was securing a bagful of candy when a piñata broke. Although you were completely dependent on your parents, this was a crucial time for you to start searching for yourself. Your childhood opinions were good indicators, they began shaping you.  Your path was carved by your favorite color, your affinity for Good Night Moon, and your aspirations to be an astronaut when you grew up. You may not have known who you were, but you knew what made you happy.
As you grow older, reality and society cast a dampness on your carefree youth.  Your whimsy wanes.  It is sad, but it is true.  You can no longer run to the playground and find a group of strangers to join you for a game of tag. Responsibilities sway your decisions and deadlines rule your schedule. And Good Night Moon suddenly seems quite trite.
But, you will not be discouraged, you will persevere.  Becoming an accountant, or apple farmer, or actuary, or acrobat seem much more realistic than becoming an astronaut.  Instead of swinging your bat at piñatas, you furiously swing it at the obstacles in your way. You know your priorities and you use them as your guideline. You start to discover yourself based on satisfaction.
As your journey continues, you will evolve.  But if you are always in a state of flux, how can you find yourself?  The details are dynamic, but at the core of your happiness, satisfaction, and aspiration you will discover a set standards; these are your values. Find your values and you will find yourself. Values last a lifetime.  They were with you on the playground and on every adventure after, values are simple and static.  Take time to recognize your values.  Name each one. Cherish them, adhere to them and honor them. 
Trends are fickle. Needs change.  Something that seems essential today may mean nothing tomorrow.  Keeping up and staying loyal to yourself are a tasks of the self discovery that you make every day.  Remember what makes you happy.  Consider what creates satisfaction.  Reclaim your whimsy.  Use your values to keep you on track, they are your map on this journey through life.  Let them help you find your way.  May you find that your values are the quintessence of your true self.

Lisa Rodelo Hanna is a Police Services Analyst at the Escondido Police Department.  She strives to encourage happiness and servant leadership. You can follow her on Twitter @LiHa28