What Are Your Values?

For the longest time, I thought of values as being reserved for “right” and “wrong”. I guess with age comes wisdom because I now understand values as being the things you believe are important for your life, love, work, and play. They are part of the guidelines you use to set your priorities. Your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects are influenced by your values. They also are part of the barometer for how well you are living your life. Values reflect your integrity.

It’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of life. Values help you stay on track with where you are going — with how you go through life. Or, ideally, they do.

When you break a promise to yourself, that’s violating your values. You set a goal for yourself and didn’t meet it; that’s violating your values. Is that important? Does that matter?

A lesson for me in what matters came decades ago one of my friends went to lunch with a client of his. As the story goes, they were seated in a section that was being served by a black waitress. The associate made a derogatory comment about the waitress’s race. My friend stated that was unacceptable behavior, stood up, and left, leaving his client alone at the table. My friend apologized to the waitress for his client’s behavior, tipped her for her service, as he left. What a lesson I learned! I realized I wouldn’t have had the courage of my convictions to do that. I would have sat there quietly and probably tried to overcome his rudeness with my politeness. That wouldn’t have been enough. I would have violated my values.

What do your values dictate — or guide — you to do in life? Do you stand up and do or say the right thing, speak your mind? Maybe your values don’t call for that. That’s your choice and decision. Is the way you treat yourself a reflection of your values? Do you bend over backward to please others — at the cost of your values?

What do your values tell you about getting older? Some people have values that tell them to not laugh at “old people jokes” because it belittles the aging. Others’ values tell them that if they can’t laugh at themselves they need to work on their sense of humor and self-confidence. Do your values tell you to live your life to its fullest and to your best, or do they tell you to let nature take its course with you accepting what happens?

What are your values? To what extent will you honor them?

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