Who do you think you are?

Kindness during a pandemic

Social distancing provides us with the perfect opportunity to spend some time thinking about what it is that we value and how we can live so that we reflect those values.  

If your actions are in harmony with your values, you are operating with integrity. Your values help you determine the best course of action even when a decision is significant or difficult to make. Knowing and living to your values is a core leadership strength because your values help you to make better and more consistent decisions.   

Your values are your moral compass, defining what you judge to be right or wrong. When applied, they can be the foundations which you build your life.

Now is the time for each of us to think about who we are as individuals. Now is the time to reflect on the notion of cognitive dissonance. And yes, now – in the middle of a global pandemic – is the time to take corrective steps to live a happier and more satisfying life.

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological theory that refers to the mental conflict that occurs when a person’s behaviours and values do not align. An example may be when a person who values honesty tells a lie, or a person who values patience acts with hasty irritation.

When a person experiences cognitive dissonance, they usually feel anxious, guilty or ashamed. To counter these uncomfortable feelings that person may hide their actions or their values, ignore research or facts that cause cognitive dissonance, shy away from conversations or debates about values they are known to be breaching.

Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching
T.S. Eliot

To avoid cognitive dissonance, simply frame each decision against your core values. If you do this you will find that you are are less anxious, more confident, prouder, seen as more reliable and trustworthy. 

Values are wonderful because they are chosen by us, not imposed on us by others. Our values have likely been influenced by our parents, role models, educators and friends but ultimately, as adults, we determine what behaviours or principles we judge to be moral and honourable.

With this in mind, take some time to think about your core values.  

From the list below, circle the ten values that most represent your core beliefs?

So now that you have a better idea of your values, spend a bit of time thinking about what you can do to behave in ways that demonstrate these values.

For example,

  • If you value compassion, show it to all those you interact with; cashiers, service providers and anyone who tells you something that you don’t want to hear.
  • If you value fairness, do not hoard.
  • If you value helping, can you offer to run errands or pick up supplies for someone in need?
  • If you value ingenuity, how can you help others?
  • If you value cheerfulness, how can you spread goodwill and joy in these difficult times?
  • If you value kindness – be kind, love your neighbour. Be compassionate and look after each other.  Treat others as you wish to be treated…. or how you wish your mother is treated.

And regardless of your values, do your bit to flatten the curve of this virus by following all precautions to limit its spread.

I guarantee that when you avoid cognitive dissonance, you will find increased happiness.

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