Two Questions You Must Answer to Live the Life You Want

Here’s a question to consider (and this isn’t one of the two): When the mind pops up with the statement “I am such a failure,” what is the underlying value that it is in cahoots with?

We all have values in life, some we’re aware of and some we’re not. Values are the road signs that guide us in the direction we want our life to go. Maybe we value good physical or mental health or perhaps being a good friend or politically active member of society. But values aren’t always pointing us in healthy directions and sometimes we’re not even aware of what our values are.

Perhaps we value never failing or never being vulnerable. Or maybe it is a hidden value that we must always be right. Where do these values get us?

I promise you that you care about where you are going in life. The simple fact that you are reading this post right now tells me that you care about your health and well-being.

I often say the tag line at the end of any mindfulness-based offering that become more aware and present to your life can help you “live the life you want to live.” That’s what is often so painful to most of us is that we’re don’t feel like we’re truly living our lives the way we want to.

When we are clear about the values that we want to guide our way in this life and we become intentional about taking action alongside these values, our lives become infused with meaning, which is a major anti-depressant. Our self-esteem rises, our stress reduces and we generally feel happier and more at peace.

So, here are 2 questions for you today:

  1. What do you want your life to be about, really?See if you can take a moment, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and sit with this question for a minute or so.

    Now, without judgment, see if you can consider where in your life you are creating actions that parallel those values? Are there values that aren’t getting any action? If so, what can you do, even something little, to bring some action to that value?

  2. What hidden (or not so hidden) values that are guiding you in a direction that is detrimental to your health and well-being (I’m assuming this value for youJ)?  Are there values of being perfect, never failing, or always needing to be right or the best? Is that really what you want as your guideposts? Simple yes or no answer here is fine. So, assuming that you don’t want these as your guideposts, this is where we can bring a mindful, non-judgmental awareness to work with our sabotaging values. When you notice it coming up as a thought in the mind or even an action, become aware of it, remind yourself of what value this is, and gently redirect to something that is more important in the moment. Because these negative values may have been practiced over many months or years (more likely), it may be necessary to practice this mindful redirection several billion times.  So, no need to be harsh on yourself when you fall back into them.

So, if you’ve just read this and haven’t actually answered the questions above, take a moment to go back and do this, it is an enormously important practice to wipe off the dust or shine the important guideposts in your life.

As always, please share your values, thoughts, and questions below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

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