To thrive in life you need three bones. A wishbone. A backbone. And a funny bone.

– Reba McEntire

As I was sitting contemplating today’s topic of core value, I came across this quote that really resonated with me and the theme of today’s message. How often do we lose sight of our core value and live rather than thrive?

I have previously written about the goal of thriving over simply going through the motions, but not in the context of utilizing your core value to do so. What, might you ask, is your core value? Simply put, it is those values that you hold close to your heart that make you feel alive, connected, valued and loved. Your core value could also be defined at a more spiritual level as your soul. Whether you’re spiritual or not, we can all appreciate that we were put on this earth to live, connect, be valued and give value and to love and be loved. With the daily demands and stresses of life, it can become quite easy to lose sight of your core value. I think we all know, when we are down, it is easy to just dig a deeper hole and crawl right in and cover ourselves up, rather than do something to really make things better, even if just a little. Sometimes that’s all it takes is just a little effort. Nothing monumental. Just something that reminds us that we have a core value and we can tap into it by simply taking the time to make our current situation just a little bit better. For me that can be as simple as getting out in nature, reading a book or holding my son in my arms. In those moments I feel alive, connected, valued and loved and am reminded of my core value that has the potential to unlock my ability to thrive.

Going back to the quote I started with, you may now be able to see how this got me thinking more about core value and how so much of it is wrapped up in this notion of thriving. For me, my funny bone is probably my most intact bone at all times. I am the kind of person that never takes myself too seriously and values the simple pleasure of a good laugh. Laughter truly is the best medicine! It is the other two bones that I feel are sometimes starting to fracture and are the ones I need to spend a little more time healing.

I’ve always thought my backbone was pretty solid. I have always been good at standing up for myself and for others, when they could not, but recently I have started thinking that maybe this bone is not quite as strong as I thought it was. Examining areas of my life where I see a pattern of over compromising, makes me see how this bone could use some strengthening. Not that life should be without compromise, as I think it’s an essential component to any relationship. But there comes a time when you start to look back at your life and the course it has taken and realize where, along the way, you may have compromised yourself, slowly depleting that core value I speak of. And if the core value tank gets low enough, it can lead to many emotions, such as depression, lack of purpose, anxiety, resentment or even anger.

So how do we avoid letting the core value tank get too low? Check in with your three bones from time to time.

Your wishbone – are you still dreaming of things you want out of life or have you resorted to accepting that this is your life and anything you wish is simply not in the cards? The wishbone allows us to keep growing and reaching, but if it breaks it can leave us feeling dejected and hopeless, two emotions that can send you in a downward spiral. The very act of wishing by nature puts us in touch with an innocent, whimsical side of ourselves which we should do everything we can to hold onto. And just because a wish does not come true, does not mean we should stop wishing for it. We may just have to reposition it or try harder. Wishing does require effort, it is not all genies and magic lamps. You get out what you put in. So if you don’t wish, you get nothing. But if you do, what you wish just might come true.

Your backbone – this is what lets you stand up for what you believe in and what you believe is fair and just. We all know compromise is a part of life, just don’t let it become so prevalent that you compromise who you are as a person and what your core value is. Be true to who you are and you will be rewarded.

Your funny bone – life is too short to take yourself too seriously all the time. There is a time for seriousness and there is a time for lightness. If your serious side outweighs your light side, you may want to reevaluate your circumstances and what has led you to lead such a heavy existence. Is it self imposed or have you simply needlessly added the weight of others to your own? Creating a burden that has now become bigger than you are, preventing you from the joy and happiness of laughter and lightness. There are plenty of moments in life to feel the weight of the world, but if this has become a perpetual state for you, please for the love, find something, anything that even makes you smile, if even just a little bit. The act of smiling can be just as therapeutic and you never know, it could lead you down the path to laughter.

In order to be the strongest you and thrive, try not to lose sight of your core value and check in with your three bones regularly. Both will tell you if a reset is in order.

Stronger with core value,