Connecting to Your Values Can Lead to an Authentic Self

October 25, 2023

Values are the backbone of identity work

When you are feeling disconnected, anxious or numb it is so much harder to connect to our authentic self. You may be feeling like you lost yourself a long time ago, or maybe that you are slipping away and want to prevent something more intense. Here is a value exercise I use with my clients to get closer to what matters.

This is extracted from ACT with Love, by Russ Harris

“Imagine that it’s ten years from now, and you have gathered together your closest friends and relatives to celebrate the last ten years of your relationship. This could be a small intimate affair in your family home or a plush affair in a fancy restaurant. It’s your imagination, so make it look how you want.
Imagine that your partner stands up to make a speech about the last ten years of your life together—about what you stand for, what you mean to him or her, and the role that you have played in his or her life. Imagine your partner saying whatever it is, deep in your heart, you would most like to hear. (This is not about what they would realistically say—it’s about what, in an ideal world, you would love to hear.)”
Imagine your partner describing your character, your strengths, and the ways in which you have contributed to the relationship.

Close your eyes now and take a couple of minutes to reflect on this exercise.

What themes came up for you during this exercise? Take about 15-30 minutes to write down your reflections and share with your therapist to gain deeper understanding and insight into applying these values in the present moment. These values often represent the core self that we want to reconnect back with. By recognizing these traits we can begin to take action towards them, resulting in a reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms.

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