The Importance of Values

January 7th, 2013
By: Dr. Anoosha Avni
Registered Psychologist
What are your values?

This may seem like a silly question, but read it again and take a moment to think about it.

What are your values? What is important to you? Why is it important to you?

Part of living a healthy life means knowing what your values are. Values are the standards you choose to live your life by. Your values are your compass, which help to draw the map of your life and guide you in your daily decision making. They help you live a life that you feel passionate and excited about.

Many people are unaware of their value system. They may have been instilled with certain values growing up, but may come to a different conclusion about what’s important to them when they’ve reached a certain age or have accumulated more life experience. This is perfectly okay. Values can change according to age, life stage, or going through an experience that challenges us to rethink our standards.

What isn’t okay is living a life according to other people’s standards. Some people are afraid to live the life they want because they’re worried about what others will think of them.  When you let others dictate how to live your life, you are letting them impose their values onto you. For example, if you don’t think marriage is important for happiness or fulfillment, then don’t get married. If material wealth isn’t important to you, then don’t buy ‘stuff’ for the sake of having ‘stuff’.

Don’t be afraid to live the life you want because of what others may think. Let go of the ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts.’ Remember that what others think of you is actually a reflection of them. When they try to impose their values onto you, they are being selfish. What good can come out of a relationship in which somebody is telling you what you should think is important and, even worse, how to live your life?

The challenge for many people is to identify their values without letting others influence what these values should be.Forget what others want you to think is important. Remember that the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

Ask yourself not only what your values are, but why they’re important to you. When you know what’s important to you and why, the world will look and feel much clearer. You will make decisions more easily. You will live life more fully.

Most importantly, you will live your life on your own terms.

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