Values are principles or standards of behavior. They determine what is of interest to us, our attitudes, preferences, needs, opinions, and personalities. They help us make decisions that are right for us and choose what to prioritize. Living a life of value is becoming increasingly difficult in a world where most people are chasing after popularity, protecting their spaces, and 'freedom'. The things we do and say sometimes are unbelievable such that you wonder how people manage to sleep at night knowing how they treat others or portray themselves in our social spaces. If it gives them satisfaction and peace, good for them. It is refreshing, however, to know that some people still have values.
Living a life that is in alignment with your values simply means that in our daily lives we marry our plans or activities with our values. We are not to adjust our values based on what we want to do at a particular point in time. Rather, our daily life should fit into the requirements of our values. Values must only be changed if the adjustments are an improvement. This is why you should live a life that is in alignment with your values;
1. Values pave a clear path for us to fulfill our purpose – as mentioned previously, values are principles or standards of behavior. Boundaries and limits are set to ensure that we do not get derailed. Therefore, values help us determine what we can or cannot do as we walk our life journey and try to maintain who we need to be as per our purpose. As we remain on this path, we are guaranteed that we will live out who we should be regardless of what we face along the way. In other words, aligning our daily activities with our values puts us in a better position to or improves our chances of achieving our goals.
2. It helps us to determine what is important to us – this keeps us focused on things that matter and Guide decision making. For example, our values will determine what things to pay attention to from the conversations we engage in with friends. As a result, anything else that is against personal goals is not given room to influence us. This further determines the way we respond as we interact with others. The importance of what we do, see or hear should be dependent on how it draws us closer to what we want to be. Our choice of what jobs, family, and hobbies to have among other things, must be based on our values.
3. It helps us build better and functional relationships – having clear values and living according to them helps people understand us better and vice-versa. As we align our life with our values, we come to an understanding that we are who we are by choice and that others have the freedom to make their own choices and be who they want to be. Consequently, we appreciate diversity better because we understand that we are all running different races and will not finish at the same time. This minimizes misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations. Also, our intentions as we interact with others are guided by our principles which also compels us to know where to draw the line as far as discussions are concerned. This keeps us from saying things we shouldn’t say and from doing things we shouldn’t do.
4. Staying true to ourselves and experiencing genuine happiness – when we do things that are aligned with who we really are, we are not under pressure to please others. We do not feel the need to try and fit in or make sacrifices for the sake of social status. We know what we are doing and why which gives us feelings of contentment. Living according to our values also keeps us from doing things that are likely to be regretted in the future. We find life more fulling when we know that all we are and all we have was acquired without the need to do anything that is out of character. We do not feel like we owe any human being for it and we do not live in fear of the possibility of any of our deals coming back to haunt us.
5. It helps us grow – we mentioned previously that our values set a clear path for us as we try to fulfill our purpose. This keeps us from taking any other route. This means that we face all the challenges that come our way without running away from any of them. As we do this, we gain more experience in dealing with challenges and take lessons that improve the way we do things, our planning included. Those who have faced challenges and did not look for an easy way out know that we come out of trying times wiser and stronger.
“If you don’t stick to your values when they are being tested, they’re not values, they’re hobbies.” Job Stewart