The Importance of Values
Your values are the foundation of how you see the world (evaluate and judge things/people), the decisions you make and the actions that you take. Your value system thus determines your life’s strategies and results. Your values can determine whether you’re living a life of desperation or a life of inspiration. Knowing your values and living according to them can make the difference between living and ordinary life and living an extraordinary life.
Our values arise from things that we feel are unfulfilled. If you grew up poor and not having enough material possessions, you may feel that unless you have money, you are unfulfilled. This will make having or making money a high value/priority for you. That which you perceive as being the most important thing in your life that is missing, becomes what you want most to fulfil and thus drives your highest values. Your values are things that you perceive as being missing that you want to fill. What is missing is what drives what is important.
Knowing, understanding and applying your values can make the difference between having a life that is meaningless and having a life that is inspired and meaningful. This one factor has more impact on your life and destiny than any other factor.
What you value determines how you evaluate what is most and least important in your life at any moment. Your values determine how you see the world and determine how you will behave and the motives behind why you do what you do. You label what is good and what is evil; what is ethical and what is unethical etc. based on what your values are. Your highest value or priority determines your identity and thus your degree of self-worth.
People often experience moral dilemmas concerning what should be their true values. There can be a large difference between the values that you feel that you should have based on the expectations of society or your culture/family and the values that you do have. When you find yourself using words like ‘should’, ‘aught’ and ‘must’ it means that you are trying to live up to a value of an authority (parents, culture, society) and not your own.
You have no choice but to live your life according to your own values. Your life will always reflect what your values are. Thus if you try to live your life according to the values of others, you will be more likely to fail at the goals that you set. This erodes your self-esteem and increases your frustration and stress.
We often try to live according to an ideal set by society, which falls outside our value system. These ideals often present things that are ‘perfect’ such as in the fields of morals and ethics. In this way, they represent the ideals of human perfection or perfect circumstances. These idealisms can therefore come to present what collective society ideally hopes for but never quite fully obtains according to Dr John F. Demartini.
The desire for that which is unobtainable is the source of human suffering – Buddha
Your own values are not necessarily the same as those of society that are projected onto you. Your values are those things that are truly most important to you as an individual. They are specific to each individual – no two people will have the exact same value system.
Concepts like ‘honesty, integrity’ and ‘trust’ are nothing more than social idealisms.
You will have all of those things if you set intentions and goals that match your highest values. Integrity is not something that you strive for it is something that you live automatically when you live according to your highest values.
Living congruently with your highest values is one of the keys to living a life of inspiration.