In this article we are going to breakdown how values help to strengthen your identity, so you can uncover who you are and get on your way to finding your true identity.
We live in a time of widening wealth inequality, short-sighted policies, environmental issues and worries, and various reactions to a worldwide epidemic.
As we understand it, values are formed by our beliefs about the world combined with our actual experiences.
What we think matters because what we believe is what we experience.
Many people believe that their views are based in reality, but this isn’t always the case.
Regardless, values are an important aspect of our identity. They can be moral, cultural, or religious in nature.
They represent who we are and how we live our lives.
How Do We Define Our Values?
A good place to start when asking yourself the question “What do I value” is to ask yourself “What do I enjoy most?”.
No, “ice cream” isn’t a value. We’re talking about characteristics or ways of behaving in the world here.
Someone who values honesty will feel pleased when they tell the truth, as we saw above.
That same person, on the other hand, will be ashamed of themselves if they do not tell the truth.
So negative emotions might also be an excellent guide to your values.
Have you ever been disappointed in yourself or thought you were a phony? What caused that?
Here are some more questions to get you started:
- What’s important to you in life?
- When were you the happiest?
- What are you most proud of?
- What type of story or behaviour makes you angry?
- If you could have any career, without worrying about money or other practical constraints, what would you do?
- What do you want to change about the world or about yourself?
- When you’re reading news stories, what sort of story or behaviour tends to inspire you?
Take a piece of paper and jot down as many responses as you can to these questions. Then use those answers as a basis for determining your own personal values.
How to Prioritise Your Values
Moving further down the rabbit hole of how values help to strengthen your identity, we now look to list making.
Lists are a good way to to highlight, track and monitor your principles.
Why? Because using lists that highlight the most important things sitting in your mind can help you get closer to determining what’s essential to you.
Overall, your list of values may be quite diverse.
If you place a high value on honesty, health, compassion, and other things, it won’t provide much direction. However, placing “health” at the top of your list would suggest that building a daily exercise regimen and eliminating bad food should be priorities for you.
Similarly, if you were to identify “adventure” as an essential then maybe planning that trip to South America will find itself at the top of your priority list.
Ideally, you’ll adhere to all of the principles on your list. However, you have a limited amount of time and energy.
Prioritising will allow you to ensure that you’re devoting your resources to the most essential things that will yield the greatest benefits in your life.
Take some time to rearrange the products on your list using the system we discussed in the previous section. Alternatively, you may evaluate each item one at a time and determine which you would focus on if you could only perform one.
Take your time and keep going until you reach an acceptable list containing all things that make you happy.
Where Values Meet Identity
Everyone has a perception of themselves; a concept or belief about who they are as individuals. It’s quite advantageous to have a solid sense of self because it provides security and comfort.
Many of us attempt to figure out what we believe, want, and who we are when we’re younger.
It is easy to understand why we might feel lost and confused in our midlife.
It suddenly occurs to us that we were not who we assumed we were throughout the past 10, 20, or 30 years; that’s the midlife crisis.
This typically happens when you achieve a significant objective only to discover that it hasn’t made you as happy as you thought it might.
For example, ambition is an essential factor in your life, yet you’re met with a rude awakening when you realise getting that management role hasn’t filled you with fulfilment quite like you thought it might.
There are several significant benefits to having a solid identity.
When you know who you are, it’s much simpler to interact with people who think similarly. A strong sense of self is frequently a trait that successful individuals have in common.
It helps us adapt our actions to the circumstances and make the greatest judgments in stressful situations. It would be impossible to make any decision, even the most minor, without some prior beliefs on how to act.
Knowing who you are makes it much easier to be confident in your decisions and selections. The difference between an effortless and a torturous decision may be determined by it.
The Importance of Individual and Group Identity
Nobody can argue with the fact that our identity is who we are. It might seem to overlap with personality in some regard. However, the two could and should be seen as polar opposites.
Our personality traits are not unique to us.
We might be communicative, sociable, ambitious, introverted, or anything else. So are millions of other people. There will be people in your immediate surrounds who you share traits with.
In contrast, awareness is required when regarding Identity.
It necessitates some level of conscious decision. You might be doing charity work because you are charitable, but you support Greenpeace because you care about the environment and want to make a statement. Our personality traits are innate, but we are not born with an identity. We grow and develop one.
Are We Just What We Do?
If you’re asked about your identity, like I was, you might respond only with your name and profession. Of course, there’s more to us than that. When we look at other people, one method to learn more about our identity is by what we think when we look at others.
We are constantly evaluating those around us as we go about our daily business. We compare people’s appearance, income, automobile, house, job, children, happiness, clothing, and phone.
This process continues in conversation via things like speech style, vocabulary use, demeanor and posture toward others.
Of course, a significant portion of what we initially believe is false; rather than evaluating the book on the basis of its cover, we use our snap judgments to evaluate it.
Not surprisingly, this procedure tells us more about ourselves than about the other person since how we categorise others says a lot about how we view ourselves.
What does it say about our stance if we put someone else in a certain box or on a certain level? I didn’t think I had a pride problem until I thought about this!
Even this internal categorisation may be misleading.
We all have responsibilities that we undertake, and we often wear masks to represent an aspirational self rather than the real us.
But… even if we are attempting to be something or someone else, it exposes what matters most to us.
This is because even if we are trying to be something or someone else, it once again reveals what we value.
Conclusion: How Values Help To Strengthen Your Identity
If you’ve been struggling with how to define yourself, your values can help. Explore our coaching and mentorship programs today to see if we may be able to offer the guidance necessary for strengthening who you are as an individual. You deserve a coach or mentor that will work hard with you on achieving goals that matter most in your life.
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We hope you’re now much clearer about what personal values are, why they’re important, and how you can do a better job of living in alignment with your values now that you’ve read our article How Values Help To Strengthen Your Identity.