What Are Values?

It is important to take steps to discover our true values

And Why Are They Important?

Values are principles and judgements on what is important to us and what is useful and holds worth for us. 

The values we hold in our life are important and personal to us, as they underpin our behaviour and the reasons why we behave the way we do. They drive our daily decisions and, therefore, influence our emotions and wellbeing. 

When we realise how they influence our decisions on what we do and how we behave, and how this, in turn, makes us feel, we then can see how important they are. Therefore, when we take steps to discover what our own values are and make our daily and life decisions in accordance with them, we have the opportunity to create a good life for ourselves. 

Alignment Or Misalignment 

If we build our lives in alignment with our values, we are setting up our lives to create a sense of purpose, meaning and fulfillment. Making decisions in alignment with them can give us a sense of inner peace and contentment. 

However, if we do things against our values, we are causing ourselves harm and stress. Going against them can cause us emotional distress and physical symptoms. 

Imagine if you are a creative type who loves freedom and spontaneity and you get a job in a factory that requires you to work consistently and repetitively. It will not be long before you start to feel boxed in, resentful, irritable, even angry, and even start to get physical symptoms of tiredness, headaches etc. 

This example shows why it is important to know YOUR values. 

Types Of Values 

There are hundreds of values, and these can be ambiguous and have different meanings for different people. For example, security could mean having a lot of money in the bank for one person and for another person, it could mean having a stable relationship. 

Therefore, it is important to examine and find out what they mean for YOU. 

Here are a few examples:  

  • Security 
  • Honesty 
  • Having adventures  
  • Having fun 
  • Need for peace 
  • Having lots of friends Integrity 
  • Freedom 
  • Freedom of speech 
  • To be of service to others. 

So, When Did You Last Examine Your Values? 

When have you questioned if your values are truly YOURS? What holds value for you? 
What is important to you? 

Where Do Values Come From? 

One point on this is to make sure that the values you hold are YOURS. We all too often take on those of our parents, peers, and society without questioning if we agree with them.  
We learned them when we were young and carried them with us through to adulthood. They can reemerge in given situations, being triggered by old familiar circumstances and at times of stress. They are the voices in your head (perhaps your parents or teachers) that pull you back into your old mindset and old behaviours set by others. 

So, checking your values is important. 

Changing Values 

As we learn and grow our values can change. What was important to us at 20 years old is no longer important to us at 30 years old, so we need to take some time to review them periodically, to check if they are still meaningful for us and if our behaviour is still aligned to them. 

Clinging to old values, make you question your new behaviour. They are the ‘cant’s’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ in your head that try to make you feel guilty for doing what you want to do now. They are the thoughts that sabotage you going for what you want and living the life you want to live. 

Conflicts And Conflict Resolution 

We make our decisions and behave according to our values, and other people are doing exactly the same. Conflicts can arise, especially in personal relationships, when we have differing underlying values. 

It can be easy to see how some conflicts arise in personal relationships if some of our fundamental values are different, so maybe some of these conflicts can be resolved by getting to know the personal values of your intimate partners, family, and friends. Knowing this could lead to more harmonious relationships and conflict resolution. 

Even more reason to examine and get to know your own values now. 

So, by examining our fundamental values and aligning our decisions and behaviour accordingly, we can create a life that is less stressful, less harmful, more meaningful and fulfilling for ourselves. 

Elizabeth Samber 
Wellbeing Coach 
M.E./CFS Specialist Practitioner 
Email: lizrecoverme@gmail.com Tel:07572076039 

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