What Are Personal Values And How Do We Define What Values We Hold And How We Live By Them?
Living by your personal values sounds easy, doesn't it? After all, they are the things that are important to you so it seems natural for you to live by them.
Defining your list of personal values can be challenging, yet understanding what they are and why you chose them is important.
Yet, so many of us do not consistently use our values as an indicator of how we live, treat ourselves, or treat others.
Have you ever been in these situations?
Someone said something you strongly disagree with but you chose not to speak up about it and felt uncomfortable or even ashamed for not doing so..
You set goals for yourself and failed to meet them
Your life goals or career haven’t worked out the way you wanted them to.
What you want often collides with what is practical to do.
You are so busy pleasing others that you are not even sure what your values are anymore.
If any of these resonate with you, then this article will help you. In it you will identify your personal values, why they are important to you, and learn strategies to apply them to your personal life so you can gain greater fulfillment in who you are, how you show up for yourself, in your relationships, and how you can reach your vision of the personal achievement you wish to leave as your legacy in this life.
WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL VALUES AND WHY DO THEY MATTER?
Personal values are the qualities that are important to us, the characteristics and behaviors that motivate and guide our decisions. Here are a few examples:
If you value being honorable, loving, and respectful of others yet allow conflict, resentment, or anger to give you permission to be unforgiving, punishing, or cruel, then you are acting in conflict with your own values leaving you feeling awkward, and often disconnected from yourself. This disconnection happens because you are in conflict, sometimes unconsciously with yourself. You then in your discomfort may keep blaming others for your discomfort when in reality it is your internal conflict with your own values that is causing your discontent.
Another example that often happens for traumatized people who have fought to survive :
In survival, our greatest value is saving human life which is appropriate. In this scenario, you may lie, be dishonest, manipulative and let others down or act out in ways that are below your intrinsic, (internal, personal ) values. This is called adaptive behavior and is necessary for traumatic periods of life. However when that risky period subsides, often you have become so comfortable with the adaptive behaviors, you no longer see them as being inconsistent with your true inner values and therefore do not do the work to return to the true values you hold. In this scenario, you master living in chaos instead of mastering how to evolve out of it.
When you consistently live within the values you identify as important to you, you are happier, more fulfilled, cooperative, respectful, compassionate, understanding, and accepting, and practice healthier habits in every aspect of your life.
How do you define your personal values?
A good place to start is figuring out what makes you feel good?
No, I’m not talking about eating an entire chocolate cake. That may feel good at the moment but overall it will cause more pain than pleasure.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to start contemplating what values you hold.
What is important to you in life?
When you read or watch stories, what behaviors tend to inspire you?
What stories or behaviors make you angry?
What do you want to change about the world or about yourself?
What are you proud of?
When were you the happiest?
I invite you to take a sheet of paper and quickly brainstorm some answers to these questions. Don't overthink it. Then use these answers as guides to figuring out your own values.
Sometimes this is easy to figure out. If you wrote about loving relationships in response to a question about what is important to you then “love “ is an important personal value to you.
If you are inspired by people who change the world for the better then maybe you value courage, integrity, justice, and peace.
Here is a shortlist of personal values to help you get creative ideas of what applies to you.
I am inviting you to use this list as a beginning. There are so many more values you can hold.
Once you have made a list, prioritize them so you know where to make improvements in your life first.
For example, if physical and emotional health is your first priority then adding exercise, better nutrition, more sleep, internal self-inquiry, and resolving conflict may be choices you will make to become better aligned with your values. Remember, alignment with your values improves the quality in all areas of your life.
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Warmly wishing you abundance health, happiness, and love,
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be free from fear
May you experience love love and peace