What Do You Stand For?

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney

Your personal values are central to who you are, or who you want to be. They help dictate behavior and give you a sense of what is most important to you in life. Unlike beliefs, your personal life values are stable and vary only somewhat over time. They serve as a beacon that can guide you toward what you most want in life. Yet, often we don’t use our values to guide us, instead making decisions based upon impulse or what we think we should do. When we aren’t connected with our values we also find making decisions difficult – especially faced with contradicting desires, sometimes even falling prey to our darker desires. Think about the spouse that strays or the person who fails every diet. Being unclear on our values leaves us a victim of our own emotions – led by reaction instead of response. Becoming clear on our values can help us change that. When we get clear on who we are and who we want to be, it inevitably becomes easier to understand what to do each and every time we are faced with conflicting desires. And it is also not enough simply to understand our own values. When you understand the core personal values of those who you love and work with, it becomes easier to resolve differences and find commonalities. Instead of difficulty and tension then, we can achieve more ease and commonality – making every decision clear.

Weekly Path to Peace: Understand your values.

  • Begin by doing a core values exercise and narrow down the words that represent your personal values. A good exercise can be found at: https://www.cmu.edu/career/my-career-path/my-self/values-exercise2.pdf
  • If you are grappling with any big life decisions, whether it is about what job to choose, stay in a relationship or even if you should compromise, look at the question in the context of your values. Keep them posted nearby so that they can serve as the reference point for what is important to you.