Your personal values are ethical principles that form your internal beliefs about what is genuine and what is valuable to you. Or, to put it simply, they are what you stand for. For example, your viewpoints and, your very outlook on life itself.
They also define you as a person, guide you in your decision making, and most of all, help determine how to conduct yourself. You manifest them in your personality traits, as well as, the way you behave alone, and with others. Does this all sound exciting? I doubt it but our personal values are so important and I believe we all may be a little lacking in that department! Therefore, I want to change that.
Is it possible to define your personal values?
Of course, but how many people take the time for conscious reflection? Most of our personal values have developed unconsciously and without us even realizing it’s being done. In other words, many of them are not truly ‘ours.’
More often than not, our personal values are a mashed up mess of what was impressed upon us in our childhood, modified by our own experiences as we progress through life. Sometimes our values can be an absolute rejection of what our early experiences were. These values are often far more consciously determined, usually due to childhood trauma.
Personal values provide us with our understanding of what is right and what is wrong, our moral compass, for example. You may know it as your conscience. It speaks to us, whether it knocks us down or lifts us up.
Does yours annoy you if you lie?
If so, you probably have a guilty conscience. To clarify, your conscience acts as your judge to keep your behaviors in check with your personal values.
What personal values do you think will influence your priorities in life?
Certainly, there are quite a few. Below is a list for you to reference. Do you feel you have any of the values listed?
- Respect for life
How Do You Know What Personal Values Are?
Be aware of what you’re doing while you are doing it.
We are all put in situations daily that will cause us to react or say something. In other words, we all have choices and decisions to make. Firstly, don’t just dive into a situation immediately without a single thought. Secondly, take a moment, stand back and think to yourself, “What would be the best way to handle this thing?” In other words, you have to use your brain and not your instinct, which is difficult for everybody.
Have you ever been given this advice, “If you feel it’s right, then do it”? This can be really bad advice because this line of thinking can prove to be very dangerous. In other words, you are acting with your emotions, and they are rarely reliable. When you react with your emotions, are you ever truly thinking? On the other hand, your values, which we are talking about in this post, are the products of your thinking ability, of your reasoning power. Above all, your personal values are what you choose to do and not what your wild, impulsive, gut instinct is telling you!
Understand your motivation.
What drives you to tell the truth? For instance, is it to continue the values that your parents taught you from your childhood? More importantly, do you get self-satisfaction from being an honest and realiable person? When you understand the reason why you act the way you do, then your values become more structured and clearer to you. That’s when the “aha” moments happen in life!
Train your conscience.
I have a question for you. Have you ever felt guilty? Guilt tells you that your conscience is sensitive to your mistakes. Otherwise, you will not feel anything when you lie or make mistakes. For example, it’s a sign that urges you to correct the mistake that you made, the little voice inside your head. So, listen to your conscience. When you do, you further develop that superpower!
Evaluate the consequences.
We all need to learn to identify our options within every scenario throughout our day. For instance, to lie or not to lie, to act honestly or dishonestly, those are usually our options. When we figure out the options, what do we do next? We then weigh the pros and cons of our options. Certainly, just knowing right from wrong is never enough. So, you need to follow through with action. Above all, it’s important that we understand and appreciate the benefits of being honest and the consequences of being dishonest.
Reflect on your past.
When you reflect on the mistakes of your youth, you learn life lessons. This is a true and probably obvious statement. But do you really think about the mistakes you have made in life with a change in mind? Ask yourself this question, have you ever been in a situation where you made a poor choice and suffered the consequences? For example, have you been grounded by your parents for being late? In the same manner, as an adult, when you’re late reporting to your job, you must accept the consequences of your actions. Certainly, you understand what I am trying to say. You CAN actually learn from your past mistakes and make a change.
To drive my point even further, your boss might be dissatisfied with your job performance right now. You are always late and your boss feels you are not changing your behavior. Consequently, if your tardiness is going to be a pattern, you might lose your job in the end. You can always improve yourself by getting up earlier and better managing your time so you won’t need to rush.
The values we are talking about above and I hope you’re nurturing are punctuality, time-management, and respect for others.
Why Is It Important to Have Well-Defined Personal Values?
It is said that social values are changing with time. Maybe for some, but not for all. This is a subjective call because everybody’s memory is imperfect. What really matters is your values – if you become successful, will you disregard your values such as courage and resiliency, which helped get you where you are now? Of course, the answer lies within you. But remember that a strong person possesses deep-rooted moral values that don’t shift on a whim.
We all have our own life and our own choices and decisions to make within that life. Above all, it is up to you what you do with the time you have on this earth. But, if I could make one suggestion, wake up each day with a grateful heart. I promise you it will make all the difference.
Also, if you would like to dive deep into your personality and discover your personal values, you can grab the worksheet below. If you are feeling inspired to dig deeper into self-care, I have a whole category dedicated to the topic! Plus a dedicated group! Join the Self-Love Crew!
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