It is often the case that our values are inherited from our parents, who, in turn, probably inherited them from their parents. We can also have values that have been taught to us by our teachers, our religious leaders, other members of our family and our friends. But are all our values still relevant to us now?
There are many reasons why values change, sometimes they just don't seem to fit right. There are some values that never change, and that is just the way it is.
Interestingly, our values can be very similar to those people we admire. We admire them because we agree with their philosophy in life. I admire people for different reasons. For instance:
Rafael Nadal for his focus, hard work, talent.
Oprah because she is self-made, courageous, giving.
Mother Teresa for being selfless, courageous, honest, generous.
My dad (no longer with us) because he was true to himself, honest, kind, generous, loving.
My husband for being caring, loving, generous, selfless, hard working.
There are some values that are apparent in several of those people and my values incorporate all of those and of course others. For instance one of my values is to be consistent in my life, whether it be working, relaxing or whatever.
Our values will change as we progress through life. We will meet more people who we admire and perhaps some of the people we currently admire will change their values and we won't agree with them any longer.
Values change as our circumstances change, for instance getting married, having children, promotion at work, going through divorce or a life trauma, the aftermath of a bereavement, and many other occurrences in our lives.
As we become more aware of how we think and what we believe, it becomes more important to focus on ourselves, which we are often not used to doing. It may have been one of your values was to always help others before helping yourself. But, having been unwell or temporarily unable to help someone else, you have realised that if you don't look after yourself first then you can't help others. And so your values have changed through necessity.
There are probably some values you still hold and you are not sure why other than you have always held that value. Do those values still ring true to you now? If they do, that is absolutely fine. But if they don't you can change them. Make sure that if you are changing a value you are changing it for the right reason and for a value that you truly believe.
I like to keep an open mind and check in with myself every so often to make sure I keep my values true to me. If there are values that are no longer true to me, I consider how I will change them for ones that are definitely true to me.
Are there any values you have now that you are aware are not fitting right? Check in with yourself to make sure your values are true to you. If they aren't, what will you do about them?