How to define your personal values ​​and live by them for a fulfilling life

How to define your personal values ​​and live by them for a fulfilling life

When we think about important questions like who we are and what we want to achieve in life, we often think about things like our personal qualities and goals. We're trying to figure out if we're an introvert or an extrovert, whether we agree or disagree, and how many of our New Year's resolutions we've managed to tick off our lists.

We rarely think about our moral standards and how they affect our character and life.

But what if I told you that our personal values ​​existed long before everyone started using goal setting, Myers-Briggs personality tests and self-awareness as a way to understand what drives us and how we can use these discoveries to achieve success. .

So let's take a look under the hood and see how you can discover your own guiding principles and use them to improve your relationships, your career, and everything in between.

What are personal values?

Personal values ​​are part of the moral code that guides our actions and defines who we are. This is what we consider important, what matters for our well-being and happiness.

The easiest way to describe personal values ​​is to think about your personality and behavior. Ultimately, your values ​​are woven into your personality and become part of you.

Some of them are more of a universal rule of conduct - think in the spirit of the religion and morality that it teaches us. In addition, there are some values ​​that each of us decides to embrace, depending on what we hold dear in our lives and what we want to achieve and become. For example, I may value kindness and compassion over fame and popularity.

Here is a good list to give you an idea of ​​some personal values:

  • Authenticity
  • Achievement
  • Adventure
  • Beauty
  • Courage
  • Compassion
  • Вызов
  • Curiosity
  • Definition
  • Justice
  • Vera
  • слава
  • friendship
  • Happiness
  • Honesty
  • Dobrota
  • Training
  • Fidelity
  • Meaningful work
  • Openness
  • Optimism
  • Pleasure
  • Popularity
  • Confession
  • Respect
  • Self-esteem
  • Spirituality
  • Stability
  • Success
  • Status
  • Reliability
  • Wealth
  • Wisdom

As you can imagine, the above may work differently for each of us - there are different combinations and priorities that we use to adopt them. Final result? Writer and poet Robert Zend put it very well:

“People have one thing in common: they are all different.”

Before we delve into the essence of our moral principles, there is one more important thing to remember. Values ​​are often more or less visible to others and are expressed in our current actions, words, behavior, but more importantly, they also shape the people we aspire to be in the future.

That is, our personal values ​​are not only a continuation of ourselves, but also form our characters. We are who we are and what we stand for.

Why are personal values ​​important?

Why is all this so important?

Personal values ​​are the main driving force behind our personality and actions, and any attempt to reinvent ourselves will need to build on our current moral principles in order to give ourselves a chance at a more fulfilling life.

Knowing our moral principles can help us in many ways. It can help us find our purpose, make decisions easier, boost our confidence, and guide us through difficult situations.

Here are some more benefits of how knowing our own code of conduct can help us change our lives.

Personal values ​​help in self-awareness

Self-awareness has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. Indeed, its benefits are undeniable. It has been associated with improved personal development and better relationships, among a host of other accomplishments. This helps us make better decisions, communicate more effectively, get more promotions, and be less likely to lie, cheat, or steal.

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Simply put, self-awareness is an essential skill that we all need to develop.

Self-awareness is basically awareness of one's identity. Undoubtedly, there is value - both personally and professionally - in what the great ones have wisely taught us: know thyself.

Otherwise, how would you know what you want to achieve, what you are capable of, or how far you can get if you have no idea who is really looking in the mirror?

Understanding who we are begins with understanding what drives us, what drives us and what we value, that is, it begins with the awareness of our personal values.

Personal values ​​influence our results

But what do you do with all self-knowledge?

Coaches and gurus often advise that in order to succeed and get everything we want in life, we need to use our strengths. Using our strength instead of thinking about our weaknesses can make us happier and less depressed. Of course, this means that we know where to start.

There is another, no less important side of why knowing ourselves and what we value in life can be useful. Yes, I'm talking about personal reinvention, self-improvement, life improvement, and all these recent fashion concepts. But it all comes down to change. Frankly, you can't change what you don't know.

When we talk about personal reinvention, we usually mean creating new habits, new behaviors, new ways of thinking, and, of course, adopting new personal values.

To change our results and ultimately our lives, we need to change our actions and the way we think. To do this, we need to weed out the little things and decide what is really important.

How to Find and Strengthen Your Personal Values

To find out what your personal values ​​are, you can use the following questions and methods. Here are some examples to help you get started.

1. Ask: "Who am I today?"

As adults, we all have a certain set of values ​​(consciously or not) that guide our actions and define the people we are today.

So, a good starting point is to make a list of 10-15 values ​​that we think we live by. Use the list I provided at the beginning, or search the Internet for a more detailed one. Choose the ones that best define you. Be honest with yourself.

To get a complete picture of yourself, I would recommend that you do the same exercise with family and friends. Show them the full list and ask them to choose the values ​​they think are synonymous with your personality. Are the two lists the same?

The purpose of this exercise is to paint a realistic portrait of who you are. It is the starting point for a larger quest for self-awareness, self-invention, and leading a more fulfilling life.

2. Prioritize your values

Not everything that we consider important is equally created in our minds. That is, some values ​​are more important to us than others. This is what determines your primary and secondary behavior. For example, you may value family and a career, but we all know that balance is difficult to achieve. In your mind, one is better than the other. Therefore, you will always take steps to promote what is dear to you.

Our current lives and the behaviors that guide them are structured according to our values ​​and their position on our own list of rules of conduct. Therefore, one way to change our results and create a different version of ourselves is to shuffle the list. If you want to spend more time with your family, put this first.

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Read your list often. It is also a way to strengthen your personality. Sometimes you can get so caught up in your daily routine that you forget to focus on the most important person in your life: yourself.

Know yourself so you can love yourself and not sabotage your own efforts to change what you want.

3. Complete the value audit

The beautiful thing about personal values ​​is that we all have a voice and a choice about the people we evolve to become.

This is what the gurus are always trumpeting: if you don't like your life, change it.

Of course, easier said than done.

A good starting point is to compile a list of values, ranked by importance, and reevaluate it regularly, say every six months or annually. As our life circumstances change, so can the things we consider important to us. For example, when you've just graduated from college, financial security may not be the primary guiding principle that it may be for those who are married and have children.

Read your existing list frequently and change it as needed. Your core behavior will be in line with what you consider important.

But there is another side to this - it is the process of adding new values, accepting and turning them into our lives. One way to find these new values ​​is to look at the people we respect and want to be like. Listen and watch them carefully - what principles do they live by? Can you imitate them?

Once you find a new guiding value you want to embrace, you must own it. As popular author and entrepreneur Mark Manson writes:

“So here’s the catch: sitting down and thinking about better values ​​is good. But nothing will become solid until you embody this new value. Values ​​are acquired and lost through life experience. Not logic, not feelings, not even beliefs. They need to be lived and experienced in order to stick. It often takes courage.”

Thus, a value audit is an important part of the process, both for redefining our current priorities and for finding new heights to climb.

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."

Change is part of the reinvention process.

Last thoughts

After all, our personal values ​​are our moral compass for what to say, how to behave, how to treat ourselves and others, and what life choices to make.

Knowing what someone thinks is important can help you build an accurate picture of their inner landscape, and it can also determine how you feel about them, talk to them, reach out to them, or convince them to go their own way. This is a valuable insight.

Research confirms this:

“Personal values ​​reflect what people think and say about themselves. Understanding personal values ​​means understanding human behavior.”

Like our personalities, what we consider important in our lives is very subjective, subtle, and sometimes even contradictory. And it's dynamic - it largely follows our life trajectory, but it can be colored by the people we meet, the goals we set, and the events that come into our lives.

But what we believe in, our personal values, ultimately shape who we are as individuals.

If you want to change something, you must decide what to value and what your priorities are.

This is the surest way to self-renewal.

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