What comes to mind when you think about your morals and values? Is it plausible to think that these very basic principles could quite possibly be responsible for our perception of the world around us? Are they in charge of how we deal with or interact with our peers? Stephen J. Bavolek (1999) defined morals as a code of conduct with identified “rights and wrongs” and values as set of beliefs that have worth. They were developed even before we were born by our family of origin, with a few minor tweaks from us here and there along the way. Just as all the fingers on our hands are not equal, the same can be said for the code of conduct formed and followed by another. These core beliefs are deep rooted and highly individualized. They help make up and define who we are when no one is watching. Understanding this complex belief system is essential to meeting our daily goals, regardless of the storm on the horizon.
Now, how does one find out or understand our core values? Here are the 3 ways to start:
- Understanding who you are is the first step in uncovering your core values by identifying your likes, dislikes, interests, values, etc. Negative experiences can cause some individuals to struggle when they attempt to pinpoint a few positives about themselves. These same individuals are also very quick to identify negatives about themselves. They also tend to say what they think others will want to hear. By doing so, they are unable to be true to themselves which costs them the ability to find out who they truly are. This lack of self-confidence could deter an individual from becoming the best version of him or herself. So, what do I mean by all of this? We live in a very negative society these days, which triggers a negative self-concept and lack of self-esteem. The constant pressure we feel to be who and what society wants us to be is in direct conflict with who we could become if we were to simply focus that energy inward. By doing so, we avoid becoming entangled with worries, confusion, sadness, etc. You cannot understand who you are or find yourself if you continue to pursue the dreams of another.
- You must accept who you are, without exception or hesitation, and love yourself unconditionally exactly where you are in this moment. Seeking to make changes based on someone else’s desires will never last because they are not genuine. Why? This is important because you are an original, not a carbon copy. Instead of seeking to be someone you are not and attempting to adhere to core values that do not fit or contradicts your own, strive to accept and improve your own in order to feel satisfied and confident in yourself.
- Once you understand who you are, learn to accept it for exactly where you are supposed to be. Take note before you make any big decisions that your heart agrees with your mind. Do not rush the process. This alliance is necessary if you want to stay true to your core values. Impulsive decisions can lead to unknowingly compromising this value system, resulting in unaccomplished goals and objectives. Do not sell yourself short. Be a leader and be proud of who you are.
Your morals/values will inevitably be a guiding light throughout your life. If you think about all your past challenges, you will undoubtedly realize that your core values contributed to your survival in challenging moments.
Always remember, when you face an unexpected storm, you will be shaken, but not moved because your foundation is very strong. Learn to lean into the struggle and try not to sabotage yourself before you can truly shine.