Your personal standards or values are your own internal moral rules that you hold to be true. They represent what is very important or even critical for you. This occurs for everyone, even though most people are likely unaware of them. They run in the background and are standards that you believe to be important. To improve your life, it is essential that you clearly define what you value most.
You’re rarely sure precisely what’s important, and most people live out their lives without having a clear understanding of what really runs the show. The knowledge of what you stand for, what you value, can motivate you.
Your (usually) undefined values can characterize you as a person. They oversee and guide how you make decisions, especially important ones, and assist you in deciding how to act. They show up as a part of your character qualities, the manner in which you act alone and equally with others.
If we are aware, we can become more alert about when we are living up to what we believe to be important. This will make it easier to stay on track with what we value most. We can also look at our values to determine if they are really appropriate and if they need to be updated.
Have You Ever Considered What Values You Are Prioritizing In Your Life?
Unfortunately, few people set aside the time or effort for serious self-reflection in order to understand themselves better. This is in spite of the fact that large parts of our personal qualities have been taken on as a result of our environment. It is even more important to understand that a large number of these qualities, qualities that you hold to be dear and true, are, in fact, not really ‘your own.’ Yup, you pick them up from other people, who picked them up from other people, etc., etc.
They are an aggregate of what was presented to us in the early stages of our development. Our own personal encounters have altered them as we progressed through life. Sometimes they are pretty straightforward, and we take on something from our environment.
So, if you want to make a change or even understand yourself better, identifying your values is a great place to start!
Understand That it is Not Always A Straightforward Process
There is a great saying, “If the brain were simple enough for us to understand it, we would be too simple to understand it” Yup, it’s not always linear.
A good thing to also notice is that sometimes we will “mismatch” our early life experiences. This means we will go directly against what we learned growing up, many times as the result of living through a detrimental childhood. Instead of having a straightforward response, we may have an opposite reaction. For example, after growing up with an alcoholic parent and understanding the issues around alcohol, we could either a) not drink or b) drink like the parent.
If you can reflect on this, what you value most will give you a much better understanding of when you are on or off course in your life. Regardless of whether it supports or challenges what you value most, this feedback will help you understand yourself a lot better. It also allows you to better define where you are and who you really want to be.
It’s Important to Understand What You Value The Most
A good example will be when you do something that is against what you stand for. For example, you steal something from a store or from somebody else. Inside, your moral compass disagrees with this action, and your internal compass lets you know that what you did was against what you stand for. The good news is that this internal feedback will help you stay on course as to who you want to be as a person. It could also help you to implement behavioural changes.
Time For Some Self Truth – Understanding what You Value Most
Step One: Self Reflection
Here is a small and incomplete list of possible traits (values) that you may deem to be important. Go through them and see what you resonate with. When you read this, ask yourself, “what do I really believe about this” and look for the underlying beliefs. What do you really believe about each issue, and where did you get this belief.
A helpful process is to think about times in the past when you were happiest – what were you doing? Were you alone? Or, as an alternative, think about times in the past where you were the proudest.
If you identify with a trait, ask yourself if the trait serves you and helps you to achieve the quality of life you want?
- Love: – Do you believe it’s important to love yourself and also others?
- Honesty: – Do you believe it’s important to be truthful to both yourself and others?
- Forgiveness: – Do you think you should forgive people for their shortcomings, or do you think you should hold people accountable for their actions?
- Freedom: Do you value freedom and believe it’s important? Do you believe we all have the right to do whatever we want? Do you believe in freedom of choice? Are there times when this does not apply?
- Respect of Life: Do you think that life is important, not just for you, but for all forms of life.
- Self-control: Do you think that being in control of yourself is important? At all times? Is it ever ok not to be in control?
- Courage: Do you think that it is important to step through difficult issues, to step past limitations, no matter how challenging?
- Humility: Do you have the ability to admit you’re wrong? Did I always have to be the top dog, so to speak? Do you see yourself as better than everyone else?
- Equality: Do you believe that all people are equal and deserve to be treated as such?
- Acceptance: Do you think you should have self-acceptance, Accept both your gifts but also your shortcomings” DO you think you should accept the shortcomings of others, society as a whole?
- Kindness: Do you think you and everyone else should be kind to others? How about being kind to yourself?
- Generosity: are you generous with your money, your time, your words, affection, or do you think they’re limited and keep them to yourself?
- Integrity: do you believe standing behind your word is important? If you say you’re going to do something, do you keep your word? Or make excuses?
- Resilience: do you have the ability to get over things quickly and believe this is important? Can we jump back into the ring after a serious setback?
Step Two: Be Mindful of What You are Doing – As You Are Doing It.
You constantly experience a wide variety of circumstances as you go through each and every day. If you simply become more aware, this can provide you with amazing insights. This can be more visible when you come up against something you don’t like. What you come up against will cause either thought or reaction. These in and of themselves will unveil your value most.
In this process, you will get some amazing feedback. If you understand that your responses are conditioned, it will help you to understand yourself.
Increase Your Awareness and Take Your Time
Begin to slow the process down. When something happens – Simply Breath. Don’t simply “react” by instantly responding, mostly out of habit. Instead, pause for a moment or two and reflect on your thoughts and where they are leading you. Reflect consciously about how best to respond to the situation.
If you have an emotional response to the situation, ask yourself why you are upset. What is this sensation? When was the first time I felt this way? Think about your values – e.g., do you value closeness or being right. You also have a life filled with experiences and insights that you can draw upon.
Here is a link to our post on Overcoming beliefs that Hold you Back HERE
Is It Smart To “Go With Your Heart” and Just React?
Generally, the answer is “no” since an immediate reaction often doesn’t go very well. For the most part, reactions are based on some kind of deep-seated emotion. This line of condition thinking can end up taking you along the slippery slope. When your emotions run your thinking, they can distort reality, not usually in a good way. Many emotional responses are far too often not a good reflection of what is happening at the moment.
Remember what you value most and make sure it comes to the surface.
In essence, if you forget your values, it becomes a battle between the rational versus the irrational. When we react too quickly, often, we are wrong. At that moment, we can hurt both ourselves people we care about.
Step 3: Understand What Really Drives You!
What propels you to come clean? Is it following what your early life taught you to value as being morally correct? Or is it your wounded pride running you and driving your response? At the point did you fully understand your internal response and why you acted in the manner in which you do, then your personal values will become more organized and much clearer for you.
Train Your Moral Compass.
The sensation of personal responsibility lets you know that you are swayed from what you really believe to be necessary. Many times it’s that small voice inside of us that makes us aware of where we have gone off course, so to speak. If this didn’t happen, it would be way too easy to simply be dishonest and not tell the truth. It’s a subtle internal indicator that urges you to address the errors that you have made. Always pay attention to your inner voice as it tries to keep you true to what you value most. As you do, this will help you to strengthen your moral fibre.
Evaluate The Possible Outcomes
You really want to figure out how to clarify your choices. To lie or not to lie, to act respectably or unscrupulously, those are your choices. Then, reflect on the possible upsides and downsides of your choices. Simply knowing right from wrong isn’t sufficient. You want to finish the thought by taking the right action. It is extremely important that you fully comprehend and like the advantages of being straightforward versus the price you can pay for being deceptive.
Reflect On Your Past
When you can think about past life experiences, you can learn lessons that you can integrate and value for the rest of your life. This can benefit not only you but also those around you, especially those you care about the most.
Hopefully, you have learned a great deal from the lessons that you have already encountered. Part of growing up and maturing is making mistakes which is something that happens to us all. If you can reflect on these mistakes, you can learn from them and then do things differently. You also be able to see the actions of others from a more balanced perspective.
For example, when you were younger and came home late, you likely paid the price for this. As a result, you understand what self-responsibility feels like. Now in a later part of your life, you show up late for work, you will know that your actions have potential consequences.
Your supervisor may be irate or disappointed with your work actions. You will know that if you continue this behavior over time, it will cost you your job. You can set out to improve your or by finding a new way to get the work. The qualities in yourself that make important in this case are being on time, managing your time better, and improving your regard for other people.
Why Is It Important to Have Well-Defined Values?
Clearly, even in our lifetime, it’s obvious that social qualities can and will change. In the last couple of hundred years, our world is changed unbelievably. Seeing people go from walking riding horses to supersonic jets and even space “tourism.” We’ve gone from a hunter-gatherer society raising children gloom to social media and other forms of technology. In 100 years were gone from the introduction of utilizing fossil fuels to realizing they need to be phased out quickly.
Remember that many of your key decisions are really about being clear about what is important to you. This is especially helpful when you are confronted with multiple options, and you must choose the best route to travel. By being clear about what you value most, it will help you to make the best decisions for yourself.
The most important thing, especially during times of change, is what you value the most. This is what defines who you are. This is something we as a species need to always remember.
Values in the News
Recently, there have been a number of incidents in the news where a large group of people robbed various retail agencies in the US. They stole large amounts of valuable goods and then took off. In the context of this post, a question to ask is: How did a large group of people come to think or value that an action like this is important or the right one? What must they value, or which values did they ignore? How does a society convey its values to its citizens?
If you want to understand the Value process more, this is a link to a good Ted Talk on Values HERE.
Becoming aware of and evaluating your core values can be a complicated process, but it is an important one to undergo. I’m sure you realize by now, your personal values are a crucial component of your character. This will also play a driving force behind \how you live your life and what brings you joy (or not) going forward. By bringing these traits into your conscious awareness, they can help you to make better decisions.
Take the time to review and bring to light what it is that you value most. By doing this, it can help to improve your quality of life. You must stay true to what we have made necessary. This is outlined in what you value most. Remember that knowing and standing by your values will guide you as long as you hold them to be true. Also, know that you can review your values and update them accordingly.
Now Be Safe, Take Massive Action and Create an Amazing Life!