What do you value most in life? Your kids, your marriage, your relationships? Perhaps it is your career or achieving success. Maybe you put a high value on your phone, I-pad, and other electronics we have come to depend on?
Beliefs form the foundation of our value system
We form beliefs and then put a personal worth or value on them. It’s what’s important to us. Many of the values we consider important were learned by observing parents, peers, teachers, movie and TV characters, religious and political leaders.
Why is it important that we know what we value?
We spend time with those things we value the most. If family is important, we will spend time with them. If our relationships are important we will spend time with those we care about. If God is important, we will value the time we spend with Him and His word.
The values we hold form a blueprint or guideline for the choices and decisions we make. They affect our choice of occupations, marriage partners, family and social interactions, political and religious activities and future plans. It is more than just a set of rules and regulations.
If we are doing things that go against our beliefs and values, we will experience conflict and stress. This internal conflict will affect every part of our lives.
Moral values guide ethical behaviors such as telling the truth, keeping agreements and not injuring others, etc. They form the basis for judgments and moral responsibility of right/wrong – good/evil.
Non-moral values are based on tastes, preferences and styles. There is no sense of obligation or moral responsibility attached. It is preferred vs. dictated. They express our attitudes towards all kinds of things.
Identifying our core beliefs and the value we place upon them, especially our moral values, is crucial to our psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical health.
What do you belief in and why?
As demands on our lives become greater and the choices available rise exponentially, we are challenged to live moral and ethical lives. There is little time to evaluate right and wrong. What we accepted as moral norms in the past are no longer considered relevant today. We try to end the conflict by adopting the current norms for living.
Beliefs and values are very powerful. We will die for them. We will kill others for them. We will give up comfort and safety for them. We need to evaluate them carefully.
Healthy values encourage us to live in the present while learning from the past and making plans for the future. They encourage us to problem-solve. They set a standard that help us make moral and ethical judgments.
Healthy values are life-enhancing, realistic, flexible and owned. They allow us to meet our basic, human needs.
Unhealthy values on the other hand are rigid, adopted from others without serious consideration, unrealistic, and life-restricting. They diminish our worth and self-esteem. They form rules that discourage critical thinking, problem-solving and evaluation. These rules become laws that cannot be broken – you must and have to follow without question.
In a fast paced world with social mores rapidly replacing the moral norms held for decades, we often find ourselves in conflict with what to believe and accept for our lives today. Taking time to step back and evaluate our core beliefs and values is critical for our lives and that of our children and the tough choices that may be required.
What are some of the beliefs and values that govern your life? Why do you place a value on them? Why is it important for you and your children?