5 Ways You Can Define Your Personal Values

5 Ways You Can Define Your Personal Values


Personal values are the ethical ideas that shape your personal convictions about what is good and evil. They represent your beliefs, perspectives, and outlook on life.

They determine who you are as a person, how you make decisions, and how you conduct yourself. You express them through your personality traits and behavior alone or with others.

We can define our personal values. But only a few devote conscious thought to the matter. The majority of our values have evolved consciously or unconsciously. Many of them are, in fact, not ours.

Personal values are a mix of what we were taught when we were young and what we have learned for ourselves as we go through life. Sometimes they can be an absolute rejection of what our early experiences were. Values like these are often much more carefully chosen because of bad or uncaring beginnings.

There are many moral values that can influence your priorities in life. Here are some of them:

  • Love
  • Honesty
  • Forgiveness
  • Freedom
  • Respect for life
  • Self-control
  • Courage
  • Humility
  • Equality
  • Acceptance
  • Kindness
  • Generosity
  • Integrity
  • Resilience

The Importance of Having Well-Defined Moral Values.

It is believed that social values evolve with time. Perhaps for some, but not for everyone. It is a subjective decision because everyone’s memory is flawed. What counts is your values. If you achieve success, would you abandon them, even if they helped you reach that point? You hold the answer within you. But remember that a strong person possesses immovable, deeply rooted moral values.

5 Ways You Can Define Your Personal Values

Here are the five ways you can identify or define your personal values:

Be aware of what you’re doing as you are doing it. 

Numerous occasions can require you to react or speak. Don’t react instinctively by diving into them instantly. Take a moment to assess the best course of action for a particular situation. You should act morally by utilizing your superego (Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality). Use your intelligence and not your instinct.

Is it reasonable to believe “Follow your heart” or “If it feels right, do it”? No, because this line of thought could prove to be perilous. Your unreliable emotions can sometimes govern you. It is not thinking but rather non-thinking. On the other hand, your values are the result of your reasoning and cognitive abilities. It is not what your primitive, impulsive, instinctive gut instinct tells you to do but what you choose to do.

Understand your motivation. 

Why do you choose to tell the truth? Is it to uphold the values your parents instilled in you as a child? Or do you find satisfaction in being truthful in all your dealings? Your values become more structured and transparent when you comprehend why you act as you do.

Train your conscience.

Your sense of guilt indicates that your conscience is aware of your wrongdoing. It is a sign urging you to correct your error. Otherwise, when you lie, you will feel nothing. 

So, listen to your conscience. When you do so, you strengthen that quality. Ultimately, it will become part of your values.

Evaluate the consequences.

You must learn to recognize your options. To lie or not to lie, to behave nobly or dishonestly, such are your choices. Then, evaluate the merits and demerits of your options. Knowing right from wrong is insufficient. You must put the concept into practice. You must comprehend and value the advantages of honesty and the repercussions of dishonesty.

Reflect on your past. 

You will have been in situations when you were young where you made a wrong choice and then had to deal with the consequences, like being late to school. Similarly, as an adult, you must accept the consequences of your actions, like if you are late to work. Reflecting on the blunders of your youth teaches valuable life lessons. You can determine what values you have or don’t have or what values you need to develop by looking back to the past and your experiences.


Personal values serve as our moral compass and knowledge of what is good and evil. It is known as our conscience. It speaks to us, whether in condemnation or praise. Does it bother you when you’re dishonest? If so, you have a guilty conscience. It acts as a judge to ensure that your actions align with your values.

You cannot overestimate the importance of personal values in your life. Hopefully, you have already defined yours. If not, search within; you may have it already without knowing it. So, you only need to bring them to the surface. The steps above can help you uncover them. If you don’t know your personal values, then the steps above can help you discover them. 

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