Feel Lost? Follow Your Values.

by Coach Ellie

When I moved to Los Angeles in 2001, I drove a 1982 Diesel Mercedes and used a gazetteer, also known as a paper map. Going to new places was stressful. I kept getting turned around. Even when I could borrow my friend’s computer and print out my MapQuest directions, it was still a struggle.

Living life without any sense of your own values is like driving around a new city without navigation. You’re unguided. Adrift on I-405.

Your values are your guide

Outside of driving, values are your personal Global Positioning System. Your North-star. Your emotional lighthouse. In the same spirit of WWJD (What would Jesus do?) you ask yourself, would I do were I to act in accordance to my values?

Your values define what is your personal best self

When you know what you value, you can make decisions confidently. You aren’t tortured with doubt or second guessing yourself about everything from friendships to a dinner menu.

One of the issues with love addiction is the tendency to get pulled into the worlds of other people, and more specifically their drama. Identifying or rediscovering your values helps greatly in this arena. If you can remember that you actually value, for example, truth, respect, and harmony you can be honest with yourself, respect your own boundaries and steer yourself attention towards something more nourishing and productive for yourself.

How do you ID your values?

Your values are in you. They might be laying flat at the moment, but by taking a moment to pause and reflect, go for a walk or write on paper they should pop up for you. Ask yourself what you really care about. What do you really want? What makes life interesting? What’s meaningful for you?

If you hit a wall while trying to conjure up abstract concepts, try looking at a list of values. Scan the page up and down. See which ones call out to you.

I recommend chunking

Choose 10 values that really resonate with you. Then narrow that list to 5, then 3. I’m big into leaving sticky notes for myself, so I keep a list of my top three stuck to the bottom of my computer monitor, which currently are:

focus, respect, confidence

Keep reminding yourself of what you REALLY value

It’s in the reviewing and living them where you are able to maintain living by your values. Your values are always there, but sometimes, like Mt. Kilimanjaro, they go dormant. Examples include: compulsively checking your phone, comparing yourself to anyone else and fighting feeling a feeling -to name just a few, garden variety, unfortunate habits.

You need some kind of vision for yourself.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a 5-year plan or a 5-minute one, the key is to keep moving forward –in a way that is satisfying for you– and is in line with your values. But we all get distracted or pulled off course, daily, even hourly. So we need to regularly check in with ourselves.

These check-ins range from sitting down and writing out a vision for the next 3 months to taking 3 deep breaths (in through the nose and out the mouth). If you are in active recovery, I highly recommend frequent, small moments of self-refection. It’s actually critical to releasing addiction because a day filled with unacknowledged, tiny stressors add up to one big: headache, emotional outburst, scarfing of raspberry croissants or hitting up that person you know is bad for you.

Image by Cottonbro Studio 23 on Pexels.

You really can be there for yourself.

Where do your values come from?

Well…when two people really love each other, they get together and do a Google search for yet another a list of values (or scroll down to the bottom of this article). And then, they dutifully write them down in a moleskin diary with a fine point pen.

OK, really, your values come from your soul…or something like that. If you have no clue what your values are then good news, by finding them and then living by them, you are going to be much more productive and even…happy.

Not living your values feels bad

Bad in a way that you may not be able to describe. It just feels false. It’s like you’re living a lie, and you don’t even know why. But once you get re-acquainted with your values it’s like having some water released from your inner-ear canal, and you can hear SO MUCH better, suddenly.

When I was in my tragic relationship (which wasn’t working for me, but I couldn’t find the courage to leave) I wasn’t living my values. Concepts like self-respect, honesty, and friendship were nowhere to be seen.

Unfortunately, my brain was too scrambled to grasp the point of clarifying my values. I kept hoping and wishing that things would just improve on their own somehow –without me having to do anything.

But all this attention on values seems empty and absurdly abstract.

If focusing on values seems like a pointless, corporate team building exercise to you, I get it. Whenever I hear CEOs or politicians mention their values, my eyes roll. They are just spraying words at us like a skunk releases stink to confuse their prey. Values are just for the brochure and campaign speeches, with no connection to how they actually act in the world.

My emphasis on values is strictly for you and you alone.

It’s a conversation to have with yourself about what you truly care about, and then figuring out how to actualize that in your daily life. You don’t need to impress anyone with your values. You just need to impress upon yourself the importance of your own purpose and values.


The better acquainted you are with yourself, the better you can navigate your time with other humans.

If you invite me to go on a multi-day trip of camping and hiking in the sun, I know without any hesitation that, that’s a big NO for me. I don’t have to “get back to you,” or ask you a bunch of questions in which I’m basically asking you to glamp instead. Nor will I waste your time telling you I need to “think about it.” I know I would HATE it! And I know that if I went to try to please you, I would do the opposite because I would be a direct-sun fearing slug.

When you don’t know who you are, you are putting pressure on the people around you.

They are left guessing what would work for you, and/or they have to accommodate your moodiness once you finally get real about what you don’t like. No fun for anyone.

Another Example:

When you are clear about your values –what you prioritize– you can stand for something. You have a running start at having a meaningful life. You know where, on what and with whom to spend your time. Not only that, but you know what to do for a living and what color throw pillows to buy.

Key for love addicts:

Image by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.

Knowing your values makes you much better at maintaining your boundaries.

If you get with someone that needs you to pay their bills, you can say “no” without falling into a guilt spiral because you know that you value honesty. Since you cannot honestly say that paying that person’s bills WON’T cause a resentment, you can stick to your guns. You aren’t a target for mind molding/ gas-lighting.


  • Values are your personal North-star. They give you direction in life.   
  • Knowing what you value helps you keep from over extending yourself and stay on track with your own dreams and goals   
  • You know your values via self-reflection. You can sit quietly and make a list or look them up online.   
  • I recommend picking 10 values that truly resonate with you and then selecting 5 and then from those pick 3.   
  • To keep your values in the forefront of your attention, review them at least once a month.   
  • Your values are as much a part of you as your heart or liver. They are an expression of what makes life worth living for you.   
  • When you ignore your values, you suffer. Life gets needlessly hard, like walking up the down escalator.        
  • Talking about values can sound so empty and pointless. But that’s because corporate culture and politicians abuse the concept to manipulate consumers/voters.   
  • When you know your values, you are happier and more pleasant to be around.   
  • Knowing your values helps you maintain your boundaries, which helps you stay calm and sane.

Thread your way down the freeways of life by relying on your values. It makes for a much smoother ride.

45 Core Values

I recommend glancing over the table below. Select 10 values that reflect your own driving force. Then reduce that list to 5 and then reduce it further to 3 key values you want to keep in the forefront of your mind.









































Next Steps:

Schedule a no obligation conversation to see if coaching with me is right for you.

Not ready for coaching? Check-out this article about why people who suffer from love addiction and codependency stay in relationships, no matter how miserable.

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