Your core personal values may change over time. That’s why it’s important to know them.
Most people would be able to tell you what they consider an item of value to be. The items may vary, but if you ask them the other way around, like “Do you consider gold to be an item of value” or “Does a watch have value”, most answers would be unanimous. Yet if you ask a person, what are their personal values, what do they stand for and what is of value to them, most people will be puzzled and would have to think for a long time.
The reason is values are unique and extensive. Just googling “List of personal values“, the first article shown is titled “Over 200 Personal Values to live by”, the next article is a little more comforting – “Over 50 Common Personal Values”. Basically it seems everything can be a personal value, from dog loving to sweet toothed. So perhaps we should take a step back in order to be able to decide what are our values. Let’s discuss, why it’s good to have values in the first place.
Values can help be a compass in life. Often we find ourselves drifting from one place to another or surrounded by people we don’t even notice we don’t share the same views with. I’m not talking about political views, rather principals by which you want to live your life. This is very helpful guide to have for example when you start looking for a new job. It’s good to know what is important to you when you look for a new position, partner or friend. Reason is, usually if values don’t align, at least one side will be unhappy in the long run. To avoid future dissatisfaction – (and as my single girlfriends in New York call it, “wasting your time”) it helps to know where you stand. There is nothing wrong with having different values, it’s just different views or tastes you may say on how you want to live your life. Sometimes you can have everything in common with a person, your background, your high school, your taste in music even your taste in shoes, but if our values differ largely it will be very hard for you to click with this person. The other way around works too, you may have nothing in common but a common understanding of what is important in life and that is what will keep you glued to each other.
So what are these values? Values are fundamental beliefs. They are simply put words that are of great importance to you. They are words that have meaning – I’m going to make an epic pun here I hope you are ready – words that are of value to you. Somethings you just think is more important than others – like Abundance or Acceptance. If I bluntly told you to pick one which is more important to you, you would be able to pick one. That’s how you find out your core values. Go through a list of 200 or 50 or 10 or how many you like and just circle the ones that you think are important to you. Then group them and pick the one word in that speaks to you the most in that group. Goal is to come down to a handful of values (great guide is under this link).
Bear in mind, these will change over time. As you go through life and experience different things, you will change your values and that is ok. Your life is different at each passing stage – your values will reflect it accordingly. That’s why sometimes we outgrow a person or a job or even a town. As we are exposed to different things, our values shift and morph themselves accordingly. That’s why it’s always good to check in with yourself and see if what you want out of life has perhaps changed.
Knowing yourself is the key to many things in life. It’s the key to self acceptance, self love and self awareness. Grow into yourself as you continue to grow yourself.