As trusted Google maps navigate us from place to place, personal values are our navigational tool for life. Learning fundamental values begins at a very early age… the difference between right and wrong… importance of sharing. As we grow, values are established reflecting who we are and who we want to be. As our values become more concrete, we subconsciously weave and intertwine those values into everyday life.
In academic studies universal values are often defined as life itself, happiness, love, peace, freedom, safety, intelligence, respect, equality, justice, nature, and human health. As universal as these values are, the meaning and priority of each obviously differ from individual to individual. Many experiences, including family, culture, religion, education, and social group, influence our values and shape our moral character.
Whether we are actively aware, we all have values and honoring them, or not, will drive our emotional well being. If our own behavior aligns with our values, positive feelings emerge such as satisfaction and joy. Likewise, when we do not honor our values, feelings of guilt or remorse emerge. As we mature, values often change. For example, at the beginning of a career a primary goal may be financial, whereas time may elevate contentment or social contribution to a higher position.
It is important to identify and define the values we hold as standards for living.
Does enthusiasm or vitality rock our world? Or does loyalty or traditionalism uphold the principles of our character? Once we understand the values we hold sacred, honoring them will create a happier and healthier existence.
We offer a few efficient tools to assist in identifying values:
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know… your values.” – Roy Disney