Setting personal values

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on

Personal values are those ideals, sense of morality, beliefs, and expectations we have, which we consider to be very important in our lives. For example, Joanna’s personal values may include honesty, keeping promises, setting goals, showing perseverance, getting top grades at school, showing empathy, helping others, and so on. Your personal values are the things you consider essential to your existence. 

Values are not always static; your values may change over time due to the effects of several factors. Changing environment, meeting new people, engaging in other activities, making new friends, and maturing with age are some factors that are likely to have a significant effect on your values. For example, Tkroy used to be a great lover of movies and video games when he was a teenager. But his interest for these fun activities waned with time. 

It is impossible to exist without personal values; personal values are essential to our existence. Your personal values may be healthy or unhealthy, constructive or destructive, positive or negative. Regardless, they are part of what makes you who you are. And while positive values should be cultivated, negative values should be done away with. While two people with similar values are likely to understand and get along more effectively, two people with dissimilar values are quite incompatible. It is, however, impossible to find a person that has all his personal values similar to those of another person; even twins born of the same parents do not share in all their values. 

Your personal values determine to a large extent your personality. An interest for certain activities may result in disinterest for other activities. And by having sufficient understanding of other people’s personal values, you are more likely to predict their behaviors. 

Although, personal values determine a person’s personality, these personal values are themselves determined by tastes and preferences (natural disposition), socio-cultural factors, life experiences, societal values, family values, peer influence, social media, and philosophical leanings. For example, if you were brought up by parents who value honesty, you may develop a value for honesty too. Many of us frown at adultery, theft, fraud, and murder because we absorbed these values from those shared by our family and society. Anorexia nervosa, bigorexia, cosmetic surgery, these are behavioral dispositions that are influenced by the subliminal messages and aesthetic ideals of mass media, and the high expectations of most societies. 

Your personal values also determine the kinds of people you value and those you do not value. They affect the way you relate with other people, and how other people relate with you. If you value honest people, you may be put off by dishonest people. And if you value intelligent people, you may be put off by dumb people. In this same vein, you drift towards what you value and drift away from that which is opposite to what you value. Men who love beautiful women with a certain body-type will drift towards such women and find ugly women unappealing. People who value wealth, success, and accomplishments will like to associate with achievers and hate to associate with those who appear to be unsuccessful.   

The entirety of your personal values defines you as a person. You are a combination of what you value and a combination of what you do not value. If you want to develop your character, you must start by getting rid of negative values, and strengthening your positive values.  

What are the things you value in life? Do you value friendship, family, the establishment of businesses, the reading of books, science experiments, changing lives, giving to the poor, creating technology, solving societal problems, philosophizing about the universe, being the best in your career, etc.? Do you value integrity, intelligence, punctuality, fearlessness, self-confidence, resolve, politeness, encouragement, and diligence? When two or more people share most values, the law of attraction may take effect, and we may find that these people find their companionship more rewarding and enjoyable.