Creating the Most Important Foundation: You

Have you ever had someone start a really terrible rumor about you that couldn’t be farther from the truth? And even though it is a complete lie, it still finds a way to dig deep down to your very core and stay there in your mind for weeks and weeks? I know, maybe this sounds more like a middle-school-nightmare blog post, as opposed to a twentysomething experience. But that feeling, I’ve come to find, can still occur in your twentysomethings. And yes, it happened to me this past week. It’s when you think you are doing something great, and someone else thinks you’re doing a not-great job. It’s like coloring with the brightest emerald green crayon, and someone calling it puke green. And unlike a rumor, someone told me directly to my email server that they thought I was doing a puke green job on something.

And as I was journaling about all of this, I realized, I wasn’t upset about the accusation itself. Rather, I was upset because I felt like my personal value system was attacked. I know I am well-spoken and thoughtful in my approach. Those are values that I hold near and dear to my heart. So when someone accuses me of not living a life that aligns with my values, that is what upsets me the most.


As I continued on my frenzied typing, punching the keys on the keyboard, I realized something else. I had no basis to be upset, because everyone has a right to their opinion, and my opinion is that I am a person who stands strongly by my values, and lives by them every single day. I know deep down that I live a life of emerald green.

The revelation I had is this: if you have a strong, solid foundation on who you are, other people’s comments will be repelled off of you like water from a rain jacket. But because I feel solid in how I choose to live life with my values, and I’m self-aware enough to know them, I can say, “I hear you, but I don’t agree.” And move on with my life. You see puke green, I shine emerald.

Over the past two or three years, I feel like I’ve done so many value exercises to really solidify my own. But here’s the thing about values – they constantly change. I could do a value exercise every few months and get different answers every time. But for my friends who maybe have never done anything like that before, maybe you could give this a try. Or even if you have done something like this before, you never know what might come of it this time.

  1. Take a look at this list of values
  2. Pick your top 10
  3. Now, pick your top 5

Questions to consider when picking your values:

  1. Are these values that you are currently living in your day-to-day life, or are they values that you want to live in your day-to-day life? 
    • They should be values that you are currently living. The values that you want to choose but know they don’t align can always be considered areas of improvement.
  2. What are the most important aspects of your life?
    • What are the things that you hold near and dear to your heart? Again, these shouldn’t be things you want to be important, but values that you find important currently.
  3. How do you define each one of your values?
    • When looking at the list of values, there are a lot of words that stand out. And a lot of words that may be similar in their definition. But no two are the same – make sure you read and understand the definition of each one.

Values make us who we are. They help us stand strong, even in the face of other people who try to knock you down. Just keep building that values foundation, and keep standing strong.


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