Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) explained Pt 2

To read Part 1 of this entry please click here

So we’ve had a brief look at the ‘acceptance’ side of ACT, now let’s talk about ‘commitment’. The word commitment is actually short for “Commitment to valued action”, this means taking action that is in line with your values.

And you might be thinking “are you going to make me create a list of my values? boooring!” well indirectly yes. We need to identify what we love, cherish and enjoy so that we can make choices that reflect these. Here’s a creative way to identify your true values and uncover some that you might not find just by ‘thinking’ about it:

  • Relax your body and take a few deep breaths
  • Choose someone in your life that is very important to you (partner, child, family member, friend)
  • Visualise that person 10 years in the future from now (or 15/20 years if your prefer)
  • You now have the opportunity to ‘peek inside’ that person’s mind and discover what they think of you
  • Listen to everything that they appreciate and adore about you
  • Hear your loved one’s thoughts about your achievements over the past 10 years
  • You are able to hear their most heartfelt thoughts even if this person would not normally have the courage to express them verbally
  • Finally hear the person’s favourite quality about you
  • Take note of all the characteristics mentioned and circle those that resonate strongly with you
  • Repeat this exercise using other people in your life

This simple exercise can assist you to decide what you would like to achieve in your life and what qualities you would like to operate with.

TRUE  HAPPINESS  IS  A  LIFE  LIVED  IN  ALIGNMENT  WITH  VALUES

Values are not goals. Goals are important for planning what you want to achieve in life and values are the attitude that you take with you on your journey toward those goals. For example, you cannot value having a successful business (this is a goal) however you can value being organised, motivated and enthusiastic about your business. When you act in alignment with these values you feel great.

Values are only about you. You cannot value being in a perfect relationship or having a great partner however you can value being a loving and supportive parter. Next time you’re about to pick on your partner for something he or she has done that you’re not happy about, ask yourself: Is this behaviour in alignment with my values about the sort of partner I want to be?

Behaving inconsistently with your values perpetuates underlying issues. Let’s say you value being generous with others, yet you find yourself becoming frustrated when they don’t ‘return the favour’. This is showing you that you are not truly aligned with the spirit of generosity which is to find the joy in giving without expectation of anything in return. Perhaps you need to do some work around releasing expectations, letting go of your childhood patterning around lack or re-evaluating your true values.

ACT aims to work directly with core values, promoting authenticity and presence, allowing us to access the freedom within

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