There is no perfect you, ideology or culture. What you experience in your life and the meaning you make out of it is what’s right for you. Our values are a result of our experiences. The question is, how do you know what guides or motivates your attitude or actions?
Typically our values tend to be from our family and what grew up with, but that is not always the case. Our values can be influenced by a variety of different sources, including our culture and the people around us. The problem is, when we follow other people’s values rather than identify what is most meaningful to us, we lack clarity and purpose in our lives. As you begin to identify and develop the values that are important to you, you will begin to formulate more meaningful choices in your life with a clear sense of identity.
Why Knowing Your Values Is Important
The clearer you are on your values, the more likely you are to have a strong sense of purpose and know the type of life you want for yourself. Values guide your behavior and allow you to have a deeper clarity about yourself and your life. If you find yourself in a difficult or confusing situation, you can use your values to reflect on the situation and determine the next best steps.
For example, if one of your core values is commitment, and you find yourself in a situation where you had promised to spend the holidays with your family but your friends have invited you to go to the Maldives with them and it’s a place you’ve always wanted to visit. In this situation you’ll revisit your values and determine that now is not the best time to travel with your friends because you already committed to spending time with your family. While this may feel uncomfortable, this will ultimately help you get more aligned with your values as well as strengthen your relationships and boundaries with others. In this case you can also make plans for the future with your friends ahead of time so that you don’t have to miss out on either gathering.
As you commit to and strengthen your values, you will develop a deeper understanding of yourself and what is important to you. In doing this, you will also be able to better express yourself and your beliefs to others based on your values. Stay tuned for this three part series where we will next learn how to develop and identify your values and then learn how to manage dealing with others whom values may not align with yours.