Our personal core values shape us and our lives in many ways. They do more than just tell us what we perceive to be right from wrong, but they dictate how we act and not just at home with our families or with our friends. They define our character and it shows who we are everywhere…at home, school, work, and out in public with friends or even just making our routine trips to the grocery store. How do we treat those around us?
At work, as a relatively new employee, I had to participate in a Values Webinar. It was to help us find our core personal values and it also explained why those are important in the work place. I have learned though that they are important everywhere. I learned more about who I am by participating in that group exercise and it taught me a lot about the people around me too, without even realizing it at first.
We were all given a deck of cards ahead of time. Each card had a value listed on it, such as love/affection, health, success, wealth, trust, respect, humor, power, beauty, communication, flexibility, and so on. The first activity had us go through the deck and separate them into three piles: Very Important, Important, and Not Important. After we were all done, she asked us to count the cards in the Very Important pile. She then was curious to see what our numbers were. I had 30 out of 52 in mine. The numbers ranged from 14 to 48. 48! The next exercise was to put all of the cards in the other two piles back in the box and then out of the ones in our one remaining pile, we were to pick out the five most important to us, the values that really hit home with us more than the rest.
She gave us some time to sort. For some, it didn’t take long and others, it took a little bit. In the end, She then asked us to write on the paper that we should have printed out ahead of time the five values and then to also define them. She also asked us if there were some that would like to share what they had chosen with the rest of the group. I did decide to share. She did say that we should also share this with others and maybe the people we’d share it with would want to do it themselves.
Well, let me share with you what I chose and what each one means to me. First, I chose Love/Affection. Love to me is a powerful feeling within you that you feel. It’s a feeling that you feel for others in your life and maybe even yourself as well. When you love someone, you want what’s best for them and you often put their needs ahead of your own. Though there various forms of love. The love one feels for their brother is not the same as the love that they feel for their child and then nor is that love the same as the love you feel for your significant other. However, they are all very powerful forms. Love, to me, has many definitions. Each person you ask may describe it in a different way, but that doesn’t mean that anyone is wrong. I am just telling you what love means to me. I also feel that life without love is a lonely one, one void of real joy and happiness. Love is so important to me and that is why it is one of my top five.
Second, I chose Faith/Spirituality. Faith is a belief in something or someone. First, I am a Christian and my belief in God is very important to me…in all that I am and all I do. He has gotten me through so much and continues to guide me every single day. He teaches me about love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. I see the beauty all around me and appreciate it more because I know that He has made it and it’s all here for a reason. Second, I do believe in others…in humanity, in that there’s still goodness in this world. We see and hear about so much hate, senseless violence, greed, and so on and sometimes it seems as if this world is so lost. However, I know that there is also so much good among us. Many of us strive for peace, offer our gifts to help those in need, know how to be a good friend, and show mercy, forgiveness, and love to those around us. I refuse to believe that the entire world is void of meaning and goodness. Faith is so key to my life…always will be.
Third, I chose Loyalty. Loyalty is being good to those in your life….treating them with respect, honor, kindness, and love. I believe that loyalty is important in all aspects of life….being good to your family, friends, your co-workers, your country… It’s not letting greed, jealousy, hurt, anger, or spiteful feelings get in the way of how you live and treat others around you. Value those in your life and show it by not only what you say, but also what you do.
Fourth, I chose Family. To me, family are those not only bound by blood, but also by love. I consider many of my friends to be family. Family can be made up of so many different combinations. I think it is important to have people in your life that are good to you, that support you, and that are there for you….not just when things are going great, but also when times are beyond difficult. And then, it is important that you are also there for them as well. It is not a one sided relationship. Family means everything to me. Those that are truly there for me have my eternal respect, devotion, and love…as I know I have theirs. It gets us through the hard times and it makes the good times even sweeter.
Fifth, I chose Honesty/Integrity. To me that is being truthful to others and living your life in a positive way, for you and for those around you. If you want trust, respect, and loyalty from others…then you must also give it to them. And I firmly believe we are all living examples to one another. What we see others do has a huge impact on our lives and so of course, what we do is also impacting others as well, even when we don’t realize it. So, I am striving to live as honorably and honestly as I can. I believe it’s very important to do so, for me and for others, especially my son.
So, let me ask you now….what would you choose and why? If you don’t want to share with me, that’s fine, but I would encourage you to share your thoughts with someone….a family member, close friend, etc. And if you do want to share with me, please do so. I would love to see what you have to say…..