What Are Values?

What Are Values?

Maybe you've heard people talk about someone having "good values" or that a candidate has conservative or progressive values, and you found yourself asking what that really means; what are values? Oxford Dictionaries define Value as:

"Principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life."

Good Values or Your Values???

So one thing to note is the part that says "one's judgement". Not everyone has the same values and the way that we see those values can be different from person to person.

One person's "good values" may be hell for you.

I think this is very important to recognize because so much of our life decisions are based on our core values. The journey of discovering your own personal values can lead you to a completely different existence. Many people don't take this journey and allow themselves to be led by the values of the people near them.

We tend to be raised by our parent's values. If your parents valued honesty, they probably encouraged you not to lie. If your parents valued status, they may have worked toward ensuring that you always had the best clothes so that your financial status was never in question. This could lead two people to make very different decisions about a high paying job that requires you to bend the truth. A person who values honesty may choose a lower paying job and take less money in order to avoid having to be dishonest. A person who values status may choose the high paying job in order to keep their socio-economic status at the expense of having to lie.

My dad always pushed for us to be hardworking. He saw hardwork as the reward in itself rather than the reward or payment for our work being the highlight. This has led to me to search for work with meaning that I can enjoy and feel proud of rather than whatever can give me the highest pay.

What kinds of values did your parents instill in you?

Patriotism? Positivity? Modesty?

Values vs. Beliefs

It also needs to be noted that there is a difference between values and beliefs. Often the words are used interchangeably but they are different and any confusion can have vast consequences. Oxford dictionaries define Belief as:

"An acceptance that something exists or is true, Something one accepts as true or real;a firmly held opinion, Trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something)"

So while you may value honesty, you may have a belief in the Judicial System. I have a Christian faith Belief and I Value its tenets of love, trust, hope, and sacrifice. So while a person may value love, trust, hope, and sacrifice they may not have a belief in the Christian faith. A person can also not believe in the Judicial system and still value honesty.

Acting In Integrity

Maybe you've heard of people as being described as having integrity or having a strong character. A person who holds fast to their values and consistently makes decisions based on his values, will be seen as a person of integrity. A person who goes back and forth and sometimes isn't seen as having integrity.

You can't act in integrity when you don't first know what your values are. When we don't know what we value, we can easily become lost in a sea of other people's opinions.

So how can you find out what you value??

Check out this list of 100(+) Values.

An easy way to go about figuring this out is to just go down the list and jot down the values that you like and agree with. Then from that list add a number of 1=Agree with least and 10=Agree with most. Then you can start to look at what you value most. It's also important to pay attention to whether you feel like you're "supposed" to value something on the list. Sometimes we don't agree with the values that we have been brought up with and sometimes we pick up society's value systems. It's okay to disagree with others because in the end, your life is going to shaped for you, not others. If someone close to you values Fame and you value Family and you both value Success then it may hurt if that person says that to them Fame is the only way to achieve Success and it may lead you to believe that you haven't achieved success even though success for you means having a happy family.

You can check out these resources to test what your values are->

Value Test Values Centre Online Personality Tests Psychology Today


Do you need help putting your values to work in your life? Book a Personal Development Coaching Session Today.