Values as the Crucial Element of the Person's Identity

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Values are the principles or standards that governors an individual’s behaviour. They are the general expression of what is important to every individual. They are to our subconscious what mitochondrion (power house) is to cells. They are the ideals on which we evaluate people, actions, situation and behavioral patterns. They determine how we live our lives. When you say “Your likes and dislikes”, you are referring to your core value. Values can be grouped under three categories; personal values, moral values and aesthetic values.

Personal values are an individual’s guiding principles. They are the rules an individual voluntary establishes to direct the course of his life. Values are a person’s settled way of thinking. They defined our character. They are the triggers of his words, actions, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, opinions, attitude, behaviour and perception. They are the key influencers of personal conduct. An individually usually arranges their personal values in a scale of preference. Some do it consciously. Others do it unconsciously. Personal values operate in the background of our subconscious and they are often automated. Values are the salient reasons behind what people do how they do it and why they do. They are actually what make people either good, bad or somewhere in between. For example, someone whose value is love will be exceptionally nice, gentle, caring and loving towards people including strangers. This type of people is generally unassuming. They are very spontaneous when it comes to giving. They can easily help anybody for no reason at all. They make friends easily. They hardly see the fault in other people. They are always quick to make excuses for people. People whose value is success are die-hard go-getters. They are often given to personal development. They are very zealous, focus, resilient and hardworking. They will stop at nothing until they get what they want. They spend less time with friends and family because they are always on the drawing boarding; planning, building and strategizing.

Other examples of personal values include; friendship, honesty, greed, patience, deceit, integrity, lying, tolerance, patience, jealousy, solitude, generosity, subjugation, creativity, family, excellence, faith, pride, commitment, envy, trust, pessimism, caution, respect, piety, gratitude, consistency, fitness, passion, wisdom, prudence, nudity, dignity, strife, team spirit, gluttony, patriotism, happiness, contentment, peace, resilience, melancholy, cleanliness, loyalty, humor, purity, optimism, self-discipline etc. The list could go on and on.

Some of these personal values were not necessarily chosen by the individual. Yes, carefully thought out decisions. Most of them are residues of their exposure and interaction with the world. People’s values are first formed in early childhood. They could be influenced by family background, parental upbringing, geographical location, gender, culture, and religion. However, these values are hardly static. They are liable to change overtime largely due to educational exposure, life occurrences, personal experiences and inter-cultural exposure. We see that happen with a lot of people including ourselves. You see an extroverted transit into introversion. A saint becomes a sinner. A forgiving person becomes resentful. A philanthropist becomes weary of doing good. It actually works in both ways. A lazy man could become hardworking and a criminal can turn a new leaf.

Personal values are further grouped into individual values, relationship values, organizational values and societal values. Individual values reflect how we live our life and the image we have of ourselves. Such values include; optimism, self-esteem, humor, melancholy, creativity, humility, passion and fulfillment. Relationship values reflect how we behave towards other people in our life. It is what makes us act with good, bad, cold or friendly towards other. It is what influences how we treat our friends, family, neighbors or colleagues. Relationship values include; love, trust, honesty, generosity, openness, caring etc. Organizational values reflect the guiding principles behind of our financial decisions. It is what determines our attitude towards money and our behaviour in the work place/market place irrespective of your occupational status (employed or entrepreneur). It is the driving force behind our money sense. Organizational values include; financial management, savings, team spirit, reliability, procrastination, competition, laziness, productivity, time management, goal setting and networking. Societal values influences how we relate to the society and our environment. Societal values include; ecology, societal validation, cultural beliefs, societal construct, environmental awareness, sanitation etc.

Next in line are moral values. Moral values are the criteria on which the judgment of what is right or wrong is built. They form the concept behind good and evil. They are the tool used to classify people’s words, thoughts, actions, attitude and behaviour. The model of moral values are built around religion and rule of law. Whereas religion categories behavioral patterns under sin and righteous, the rule of law categories them under crime and right. They are used to evaluate social institutions and communities. Such values include; freedom, fairness, lawful, nepotism, equity, well-being, injustice, equality, truth, corruption, virtue, innocence, anarchy, ethics, truce etc. While personal values influence how people choose to conduct themselves, moral values detect how people ought to conduct themselves. Last on the list are aesthetic values. Aesthetic values are associated with an individual’s evaluation of artwork or beauty. This is what led to that saying, “Beauty lies in the eye of the behaviour” That’s because beauty means different things to different people. One’s interpretation of a work of art depicts his aesthetic. It also influences our perception of pulchritude in humans and inanimate objects.

Our focus for this discourse will be on personal value. Personal values are largely responsible for the problems, troubles and chaos in the world today. There over a billion people in the world and everybody has their own concept of what is right and wrong. Each determining what is good and evil expecting the rest to live by it. Then when our ‘good’ clashes with our neighbors ‘evil’ so to say, trouble begins. Arguments ensue and fight breaks out. Each party insisting on their stand and quickly forgetting that their personal values are not the standard for judgment. Moral conducts still remain the standard of evaluation to determine what is right or wrong. If even you have no allegiance to any religion, the rule of law should be there to guide. Thus, whatever our values may be, they should be weighed on the scale of moral values. If we want to make a change for better outcomes in our human interaction, we must first start by evaluating our own values. It begins with identifying your values. Identifying your values gives you more clarity on your personality. Some people do not even know why they behave the way they do. Someone dupes their business partner and when asked the reason for such action, they say, “I don’t even know what came over me. It’s the work of the devil”.

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Inasmuch as it is believed that some things which happen in the physical are controlled by the supernatural, we cannot always attribute our shortcomings to that phenomenon. Every individual has a will which gives us the ability to make choices. These supernatural entities may present with a catalogue of behavioral options. However, the ball is in your court to choose which one to accept or follow. When we do not deal with some issues in our lives, we will always make the wrong choices. It is easy to lay blames. It was seems like the easy route of escape but we must lead to take responsibility of our actions. Be responsible for our actions means that we must deliberately evaluate our personal values. Separate the good ones from the bad ones. Don’t be quick to cry “holy indignation”. Nobody on the face of the earth is perfect, neither are you. Pause for a moment and think. Search your heart and mind thoroughly and you will find that there are some ill values you still cling onto.

No matter what you say or think of yourself, your behaviour remains the true judge of your values. It is a matter of behavioral patterns. For example, every organization’s core values are usually positively. Well, you don’t expect them to speak ill of themselves. However, you can judge the real lies beneath the whole charade when you get to do business with their. No matter what they claim to be their core values, you will judge them by their behaviour towards your. Your customer experience becomes your own impression of them. It just like a man who claims to value punctuality yet he is always the last person to walk into a meeting. Will you still believe his claims about punctuality? That is why most people are infuriated when their outcome does not match their values. For example, someone who values excellences puts in the work to create a perfect product but gets a negative out. He will unhappy because of his wasted efforts. Someone who values education, studies intrinsically yet ends up with a poor academic performance. Such a person will be discouraged.

Life is much easier when we make plans and decisions that align with our value. Understanding your values is really beneficial. When you are clearly aware of these values, you can consciously assess situations against your value system. It gives you a good direction in life. You begin to get rid of the bad while embracing the good. Whenever you want to make a decision, you would have to double-check to know if it aligns with your core values. This will help you make better decisions which will produce positive results. These positive results will balance your life and save you from a whole lot of trouble. Good values help aids personal growth and development. They help us make good decisions that fulfill our individual and collective need. It is the pathway to creating the future we desire.

One good thing about this evaluation exercise is that it helps build our tolerance level towards other person. When we learn that people have very different values from ours, it helps us become more understanding of them. It helps us predict other people’s choices. It also helps us to understand those choices thus, preventing quarrels, fights and misunderstanding. Their values may be different from yours but it does not make them outrightly bad or insignificant.

Having seen the importance of having a good value system, let us discuss how you can build that value system. It takes a self-conscious effort to improve your value system. First select the values you would like to incorporate into your life. Sit down and define your value system. You could make a list on your notepad, sticky notes or writing app. Write down as many as you can recall. Ensure that none of the values are contradicting each other. Then draft a workable plan and strategy to imbibe them. There should be some defined parameters to measure your progress. Set a goal or target for yourself. Then, prioritize your list of values.

Narrow those values to a list of 5 core values that are most important to you. Visualize your values to know what to prioritize or cast aside. Cut out misfits and excesses. Make modifications and fine a balance. You could merge some values as one quality. Be determined to practice and perfect them. Look for every opportunity to practice those values. You could build a support structure for accountability. Get an accountability partner. You could tell your friends, close family member or your spouse/partner. Ensure that it is somebody you trust. Let them monitor, observe and supervise you to ensure that you make progress. Ask them for honest feedbacks. You will even want to exceed their expectations so they won’t make fun of you.

Be committed to the cause. No matter how hard your accountability partner tries to persuade you, you are not committed to it, it won’t work. You can force a horse to the stream but you cannot force it to drink water. The results do not always come as fast as we want. There are no shortcuts or escape routes. If you want to build a fully functioning value system, you must put in the work. It is a process that takes time. A journey of a thousand mile begins with a step. Start taking those baby steps now. Mistakes are part of learning. If you make mistakes, get up, dust yourself and keep moving. As you practice, you will become perfect in that. Fix your eyes on the goal and keep working on it.

If you want to have a sustained outcome, you must stay true to the cause and be consistent. Always check to see that your values are in harmony with your behaviour and thinking pattern. Your value system expands as you grow and explore life. Thus, it is important that you monitor yourself regularly so you don’t slide off the rails. This will ensure that you do not return back to your old habits and behaviour. Make sure you do not betray yourself. Remember, you should be making progress in the forward direction. Be fully self-aware and observant. Stay true to yourself and keep your ground. Do not lose touch of your sense of value. Be like a solid rock that cannot be moved by external pressure. Let your behaviour be consistent with your values and you will reap a bountiful harvest of good results. In as much as you’ve built an amazing value system, still try to be tolerant of people with mediocre values. I’m sure they would do more if they knew better. So don’t be too hard on them. Be tolerant and accommodating but you must also be careful of negative of influence. There is no common ground between light and darkness. One must surely influence the other. It’s either light expunges darkness or darkness dims light.

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