How to discover your own values

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why you should never violate your values

In a previous article about gaining self respect i said that one of the essential requirements for developing self respect is to respect your own values.

Self respect is an integral part of self confidence. Without having enough self respect you might have a hard time feeling confident or trusting yourself.

So the important question now is , how can you discover your own values in order not to violate them?
Of course each person has a certain degree of self awareness and as a result many of your core values might be already known to you but to understand everything that matters to you an extra step might be needed.

Before i tell you how to discover your values let me tell you first about the problems that might arise if you were unaware of them. Let's suppose that you valued freedom so much but you weren't aware of the presence of that value.

In such a case you might find yourself totally unhappy with your job without realizing that the fact that this job is not giving you enough freedom is the reason behind your lack of satisfaction. See also should i quit my job if i hate it.

So when you lack understanding of your own values you might end up becoming miserable in life without actually realizing that the problem is that you are violating them.

How to discover your own values

Discovering your own values is a simple process thanks to your subconscious mind which does most of the process. Whenever you violate one of your important values your subconscious mind will respond right away with a negative emotion similar in magnitude to the violation you did.

So if you for example value honesty then you weren't that clear when answering a question someone asked you then you might feel a little bit guilty. Now if you lied to a person then probably you will feel even more guilty as a result of believing that you did something really bad. See how to know if someone is lying to you.

Values are not always that clear. If for example you value freedom then you might find yourself unhappy as long as you have to sit on a desk. In such a case your mind is trying to communicate to you that you value freedom above everything else.

This leads us to the first important step in understanding your values which is becoming more conscious of your own emotions. I said before that so many people have brains that run on the auto-pilot mode in such a way that those people never understand what makes them tick.

By becoming conscious of your emotions, and specifically of the change in your emotions, you will be able to notice the violation of values as soon as they happen.

Can i ignore my values?

One reader sent me a question asking me if she can ignore her values since they are preventing her from living the life she wants. In fact this can never happen unless the values change.

If you value something then probably you have very strong beliefs about that thing and in such a case any violation to the values will go against all of those beliefs and make you feel really bad.

In other words ignoring your own values is a very bad idea unless you discover that you have a bad value. In the later case you need to go through a belief change process to change that value.

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