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An exercise in Personal Values- by WTribe member Melissa Keenan

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From Teamwork, Integrity and Achievement to beyond….

Firstly, these are beautiful admirable qualities and formed the basis of a wonderful company to work for. But can I say that my time spent living those values from an impressionable early 20’s age shaped who I thought I was? Absolutely. It’s only the last year that I stepped back and really began a journey of the heart and soul, that I am finally understanding as an almost 34 year old woman exactly who I am. If you like, it’s who I am and want to be at my purest form.

I feel like this exercise is one of permission – giving yourself the permission to rebirth, evolve and even change. As we learnt or had reiterated today our values have always been there; we think they change but really it’s when things don’t feel right or we aren’t reaching our happiness potential that we are shown we are not living a life aligned to our core values.

So who am I aspiring to be in 3 simple words? And how did these words settle themselves with me? What are the words I would like to be known for when I move on from here to beyond?

They are Authenticity, Freedom and Kindness.

Right now, for me Authenticity shows itself to me as a way to live my life. A feeling I want to have in the choices I make, the words I speak and the people I surround myself with. It’s my current buzz word too after years of friendships with fine people that just never felt right – or that I was never really being myself. When an interaction takes effort and a mask to be put on, then it’s not sitting within my values. The most personal element of this is the complete lack of relationship I have with my Dad after the first round of Tribe because of his complete inability to be authentic. I guess it’s really an umbrella word that covers off honesty with me. I’ve heard it explained by others as when that authenticity/honesty doesn’t exist within a relationship then it becomes an unsafe space. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I know in my heart that I can’t openly co-exist in a space and time without that authenticity. It muddies my emotions and sets off that chest whirlpool where you feel like you are waiting for the penny to drop. When will the hurt be here? For me a loss of authenticity generally goes hand in hand with hurt.

Freedom is next and is my gift to myself. For too long as the main income earner working full time and feeling like I was the weekend Nanny (who lied on her resume to get the job – that kind of Nanny) to my daughter. Then we added my son and I knew as soon as I was pregnant I had to change. I had to get out of my current workplace, because since becoming a Mum I didn’t feel it meshed with anything my soul was screaming at me about. I was in so much turmoil I had a nervous breakdown at 27. I kept feeding this happiness gap with more and more bad choices – build the big house, live the big lifestyle – because you’ve made that choice now you can’t change. The darkest days of my life happened on an overseas holiday where I thought it would be easier to end it all then go back to the 4 walls I had imprisoned myself in. Where my time out for good behaviour was walking up and down Erina Fair for hours to avoid going home.

But my goodness you can change! For some they may be able to immediately make the necessary change, for us it was a process of unwinding the life we had and building new foundations. We sold the big house and we changed the working structure between my husband and I. I gave myself the freedom to not have to be the person I was. For so long I explained to myself that I was lost and had to find the old me. But really, I had never truly become the me I had always wanted. Freedom means to me changing my mind, saying yes/no to whatever I want to because I can. Not living to self-imposed impossible standards or to the values of others. Freedom is the key to unlock my happiness door.

Lastly, but of no less importance is kindness. It has evolved from where I thought my value was helping others (and I would do that to my own detriment sometimes) it is actually kindness that fuels it all. I want to harness my natural nurturing state and roll with it. Now that I am the Authentic, Freedom loving Mum and person I want to be, I have the time to be the kindest version of myself as well. What I have learnt this last year is that Kindness should also be to myself. Allowing myself to mess up and be ok with it. Some other things I changed perspective on is exercise for love is kindness, eating good foods is kindness, making self-love time is kindness, sometimes doing nothing at all is kindness and even not cleaning is kindness. When kindness is the motivator, the choices are easier and the answers are clearer.

I give myself Kindness everyday for the way that I look, the choices I make and the way that I get my life done. Our family motto is “Look for something kind to do everyday, if you’re lucky you’ll have lots of opportunities”.

It started off as a pitter patter – where I could look at relationships that have passed and say “ok, that was a values thing. They are still great people, and I am still a great person. I don’t have to become their opinion of me. I am my own opinion of myself and that’s what matters” and now it rains in recognition of what fuels my life.

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