Is It Time to Question Your Values?
We’re living through a time of transition and change on a global scale, prompting many of us to reevaluate our values as a culture.
Unfortunately, many people may not take this time as a chance to reevaluate their own perspectives and values. Our values are what make us who we are at our core, yet many of us never take a moment to consider whether our values still align with the people we want to be.
The fact is, most people’s values will make some changes over time. Those principles that you so staunchly followed as a young adult may even make you uncomfortable now! Sometimes, our values shift naturally, and sometimes they’re influenced by those around us, by society, or by the community we live in.
Before we explore more about how and when you should reevaluate your own values, it would be beneficial to get a better idea of what values are comprised of.
How Do We Define Values?
Values are beliefs that are fundamental in our lives. They allow us to decide which things in our lives we consider important. If you believe in being kind to others, this is a value that you’ve chosen to embody, and you present this value to the world in the form of kindness.
When you think about the kind of person you’d like to be, there’s a good chance that you’re considering the values that make that ideal version of yourself so unique and desirable. They help you form the foundation of the life you want to build.
While these beliefs may be a core part of who you are, they are likely to shift and transform throughout your lifetime. The things that you believed in deeply when you were younger may not make sense as you grow, accrue wisdom, and learn more things about life.
Conversely, you may have personal beliefs that have become muddled by the societal norms and cultural concepts surrounding you throughout your life. Furthermore, distractions and challenging situations in life can make you feel detached from your values – and from yourself.
Your values represent the ideas and beliefs that you find to be important not only within your own life but the world around you. Your values help you choose which things in your life to prioritize, whether that’s family and relationships, your career, or humanitarian efforts. They’re important for helping you attract the kind of life you want, which is why it’s so important to identify and analyze your values every once in a while.
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Why Is It Important to Assess My Values?
One of the most important reasons to take a closer look at the values you hold near and dear to your heart is that they may not be your values at all. Many people adopt the values of the people who raised them, the community around them, and their nation as a whole.
Sometimes it feels easier to go with the flow of energy surrounding you than to rebel against something you know to go against your values. But with all of the current change and revolution against long-held beliefs that are not now, and have never been, aligned with a life of love and kindness, there are many people re-evaluating their beliefs and those of the people around them.
Think about the values you were raised to believe in. Are there any that you’ve outgrown or learned to be false? Deconstructing your values is the key to understanding more about them and, in turn, yourself. What did your parents teach you to believe? What values did you take in from your education? Are there traditions held by your friends or family that you’re no longer comfortable with?
Ask yourself which thoughts and beliefs you were told were important to live by and whether they still apply to you today.
If you notice any values that you no longer hold to be true or some that you haven’t been actively embodying, it’s time to bring yourself closer to your core. This is the perfect time to decide what beliefs you currently accept and which you’d like to let go of, especially in the midst of all the change surrounding us. If you’ve been compromising your own personal beliefs for the sake of others, there’s a good chance that these compromises are leading you down a life path that doesn’t align with who you truly are.
Additionally, our values help us make choices in our lives. There are likely many times a day that you think to yourself, “What should I do?” Having a strong sense of your values and beliefs can help you make these decisions with confidence and ease.
How to Determine Which Values Are Right for You
Think of someone that you admire in your life. Or rather, think of many people that you admire. What qualities do these people possess that make you feel the way you do towards them? What beliefs do they hold? What values do they embody? Make a list of the characteristics that make these people respectable members of society, members that you admire.
Next, make a list of the values that are most important to you right now. Once you have these lists, ask yourself whether your current behaviors, actions, and lifestyle align with these values. Is there any part of your life that actively goes against these values? Any traditions or activities that may not be serving you or your community?
Don’t beat yourself up if you find that there are gaps between your current lifestyle and the values you find most important in life. The fact that you’re reading this, that you’re taking the time to question your values, shows that you’re trying to grow and evolve as an individual. We’re all bound to make mistakes in life; and further, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain your values if they don’t align with those of the people and the community around you.
Resources for Exploring Values Further
If you aren’t sure which values are or should be important in your life, you might feel stressed out during the process of exploring and determining your values. Fortunately, there are many resources that will help you dive into this topic further.
- Diversify- To begin, check out Diversify, a beneficial website that includes a calculator to help you better understand certain harmful ideas that you may be holding onto.
- Blind Spot - Blind Spot is a book by Mahzarin R. Banaji that speaks about the hidden biases that we may be holding onto without even knowing about it. This is an interesting and easy read that will help you realize any prejudices that you may be unknowingly displaying in your daily life.
- Personal Values: A Guide to Figuring Out Who You Are - This is a website designed by author Mark Manson. This personal values guide will help you explore this topic in more detail, giving you a deeper understanding of which values are good, bad, or necessary for a happy, loving life.
Be Gentle with Yourself as You Explore
This isn’t a time to beat yourself up if you discover that you’ve held prejudices or values that no longer align with who you are at the core. Try to learn where these values came from and why they became a part of your life without judgment.
You’re on a journey towards a more caring, compassionate you. That means being caring and compassionate with yourself as well. Be proud of yourself for the willingness to take a journey towards values that align with who you are on a spiritual level.
Your journey is a step towards making this world a better place.
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