Who you are and what you do is a direct result of your core values. These are the most important qualities and virtues in your life. They’re the beliefs that guide you in the right direction, bring inner peace, and shape your future.
When you live with integrity, your self-esteem soars, and you feel happier. However, if you ignore your personal values, it’s a different story.
The consequences of not living by your core values
“Living with integrity means behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values.”
— Barbara De Angelis
If you act against your virtues, you’ll lose self-respect and self-esteem. You’ll also have to deal with inner turmoil.
Moreover, you’ll feel like you don’t know yourself. Then you might adopt other people’s beliefs, and that could be a disastrous choice.
For instance, if you have a friend that always spreads hate or fear, don’t spend your time with them. They’re damaging your wellbeing, and it’s not worth it, especially if they influence you to do the same.
Practice standing up for your convictions by telling them how you feel. If they don’t stop, then it’s time to drop them.
Some people act against their principles to gain a sense of belonging or acceptance. Instead, find a better way to get what you need without ignoring your beliefs.
What things do you do that conflict with your core values?
“Your core values are the deeply held beliefs that authentically describe your soul.”
— John C. Maxwell
When you act against your beliefs, you’ll feel conflicted and disappointed in yourself. What things do you do that make you feel this way?
For example, someone might share a blatant lie on social media, but you value the truth. If you “like” it because everyone else did, you’ll feel terrible. You just told yourself that your thoughts don’t matter. But they do!
However, if you stand up against the lies, you’ll feel satisfied and empowered. Furthermore, people will know your standards and what you’ll tolerate. Who knows? You might inspire others to stand up for what they believe too!
Discover what you value
“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”
— Ayn Rand
Now, it’s time to solidify what your core values are so you can live by them. It’s vital that you choose your own virtues and not what others tell you. Write down the qualities you believe make a good person.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What is crucial and meaningful to live a good life? What will that give me?
- If I could change the world, what would I do?
- What behaviors brew up a storm of inner conflict?
- Have I felt disappointed in my actions? What did I do?
- Are there any values I’d like to build?
- What was I doing when I felt proud of myself?
These questions will reveal the things that you feel strongly about in life.
Here are some examples of core values:
- Integrity. Doing what’s right no matter what.
- Balance. Not getting absorbed in one area of life and ignoring others.
- Truth. Always telling the truth regardless of how others will react and not spreading lies.
- Confidence. Feeling comfortable with who you are.
- Independence. Taking care of your needs and not leaning on others.
- Love. Empathy towards another person and caring for their feelings.
- Responsibility. Taking care of the things that you need to do.
- Cleanliness. Being organized and taking care of your things.
- Courage. Pushing fear aside and doing what you need to do anyway.
- Helping others. Doing what you can to help others be their best.
- Privacy and solitude. Taking the necessary time to be recharge alone so you can work on or plan for goals.
- Not harming others. Never hurting others mentally or physically.
- Determination. Sticking with what you plan on doing.
- Authenticity. Being yourself, no matter what.
- Improvement. Striving to be and do better.
- Life experience. Trying new things and meeting new people.
- Gratitude. Being thankful for everything you have in life.
- Kindness. Being nice to people and understanding.
- Equality. Treating everyone the same and not stereotyping others.
- Freedom. Not feeling held back by anything.
- Exploration and adventure. Traveling and learning new things.
It can help to think of people you admire and the morals they live by.
After you make your list, continue on to the next step.
Now, rearrange your values from the most important to the least. Those top principles are critical to your happiness. So, remember, each time you don’t follow them, your confidence pays the price.
Next, write what you can do to start living in alignment with your virtues. So, if you want more integrity, help an old neighbor you see struggling to bring in their groceries. If you ignore them, you’ll feel horrible about it.
- Do my goals or career choices mesh well with my principles? (If not, you might want to make a change.)
- When am I most likely to compromise my beliefs?
- How can I react better next time?
Whenever a situation arises, listen to your intuition; what is it telling you to do? Most often, it’ll let you know what the right thing to do is.
Create an action plan to live by your core values
“Peace of mind comes when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.”
— Stephen Covey
Now that you have a list of your most meaningful virtues let’s get into how you’ll live by them.
Here are some tips:
- Set goals to live by your values the rest of the week or month.
- Let people know what you think is important.
- Read your list every morning, so they sink into your subconscious. Then when a situation arises, you’ll be ready.
The more your actions fall in line with your beliefs, the better you feel about yourself. Plus, you get a step closer to making them a habit.
Update your core values list
“Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values.”
Over time, your standards will change, so it’s best to update your list every year or so. Make sure your goals and actions align with your standards. Also, take note of what’s not working and what to change.
You might want to take this test to see if you missed anything.
In short, when you live by your values, you feel at peace with yourself and happy about your direction in life. That will no doubt make your confidence soar and inspire others to follow your lead. Who knows how many lives you could change?
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You’re incredibly worthy of being happy, and following your core values is a great start! Please do this for yourself because you’re worth it!