What Are Your Values?

Our values help define us as individuals. They also help to guide us in making decisions that effect our lives.

Money plays an important role in our lives. You need money to buy food and shelter, not to mention recreational items.

And yet, most people would not list “money” as a value. If you don’t go to the effort of consciously listing what your values are, it can be all too easy to let money be the primary driving force in our lives.

So if, for example, farmers’ rights are important to you, you might spend more money on fair trade food items at the grocery store. If you are worried about single-use plastics, you might go to the extra effort to bring reusable containers to a restaurant if you have leftovers.

Having stated values can make it easier to make a decision, if one of the choices aligns with your values more than another.

Of course, thriftiness might well be a value of yours. That’s completely understandable, as money is a concern for most of us. However, even then it can be helpful to have that value stated explicitly.

Oftentimes, businesses are encouraged to make a list of company values, and distribute those among the company employees, so everyone knows what they are or should be working toward. The same thing is true of individuals or of households.

What are your values? Have you given any thought to them? How did you decide which ones would be most important to you? Do you discuss these values with others? And how do you handle a difference in values with friends, family members, co-workers, or neighbors?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? How do you define success? What is important? How do you set priorities? What gives you purpose?

4 thoughts on “What Are Your Values?”

  1. Believe it or not, I have over thirty values I’ve listed as very important to me. I’ll subject you to my Top 12:

    1. Balance: in the roles I fill (i.e. spouse, friend, public policy director, home economist) and my core capacities (i.e. physical, mental, intellectual, and spiritual health)
    2. Curiosity: in learning all I can and in understanding other people’s viewpoints
    3. Doubt: never believe or act as if I know it all — overall and about particular issues
    4. Gratitude: for the relationships I have as well as for what I’ve got and am able to do
    5. Hope: an active verb, the value that pushes me to fight for social and economic justice as well as to combat our existential threat (i.e. climate change)
    6. Humor: don’t take myself too seriously
    7. Integrity: try the best I can to be consistent in my beliefs and actions
    8. Idealism: striving for the possible, even in the face of political “realism”
    9. Reverence: find awe in this planet and its incredible diversity; strive to keep the forms of life on it thriving
    10. Responsibility: do what is right and try to be the best Michael possible
    11. Transparency: in as many situations as safe, present who I truly am
    12. Trustworthiness: earn trust and engage in activities to maintain it

  2. Michael, these comments of yours deserve a response, so here goes. My first impression is that you write with much earnestness and intensity, (and great care). I plan to bookmark this page (if only I knew how) and hope to share/incorporate some or all of these values into my life. I want to come up with a list of my own and encourage your/our readers to do the same.

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