What Are Personal Values and Why Are They Important?

“Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out.” Jim Rohn

In theory, living by your personal values should be easy. After all, your values are simply the things that matter to you in life, so living by them should come naturally. Despite this, many of us do not regularly act following our values.

You've lost your way in life and forgotten what you believe in if you don't live by your values. People who have lost track of their personal values tend to wander through life, standing for nothing and no one. Making decisions gets increasingly tricky because they have no idea what their life values and standards are.

When we live by our deepest values, on the other hand, we tend to feel authentic, motivated and fulfilled. When we are aligned in the opposite direction, we tend to lose touch with our identity – life has little meaning and no feeling of purpose.

Values are acquired first through feeling, then thinking, communicating, making decisions, and finally acting on them. They assist us in deciding what to focus on, what actions to take, and how we interpret the world in which we live.

What Are Values?

Values are a set of guidelines that you follow in your daily life. They are the things that you consider the most important to you and your way of life, work, and play. Some would even go so far as to claim that values are priorities that show you how to spend your time wisely.

Values are labels that you apply to specific phrases to represent your emotional experiences, including pain and pleasure. These emotional experiences are frequently structured into a hierarchy that helps you define your life and live that life.

Values are the measures you use to figure out whether or not your life is turning out the way you had imagined. Therefore, values act like a compass that helps you stay on track and focused on your life's most important things.

Why Are Values Important?

All of this is significant because when "what you do" and "how you behave" are in line with your values, life feels good, you feel good, and the world appears to be in order. However, when your actions and behaviors are not in line with your highest ideals (life priorities), things become uncomfortable and painful. You're disappointed, dissatisfied, maybe even miserable, and you're probably not even aware of it.

What you focus on, how you view reality, judge things, and what you will or will not do are all determined by your values, which essentially boils down to your daily behavior and actions. As a result, if your values do not align with your everyday decisions, choices, and behaviors, you will be unhappy, unfulfilled, and discontent with your life.

Consider some of the most well-liked and respected persons you know. You might not understand why you admire them so much at first, but if you look closely, you'll notice that it's because they live their lives according to their beliefs and principles, values that lead them through life, and values that they don't deviate from; values that they stand to safeguard.

When we look at the world's most successful people, we can easily understand their beliefs and how they got to where they are now. Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, and Mother Theresa are just a few names that come to mind. Self-reliance, hard work, commitment, discipline, and more can all be found in their values if we delve a bit deeper.

Types of Values

There are two types of values that are worth exploring. The first set of values are known as moving-toward values, and the second set of values are known as moving-away values. Both of these types influence your daily choices and decisions.

Moving Toward Values

These are pleasure-inducing values that make you happy. It's a set of ideas or states that you enjoy and desire to pursue. You want to be reminded of these beliefs regularly. For example, you could be looking for love, passion, health, comfort, adventure, security, independence, and success. These values make you happy, but they are not equal. And, especially if there are value conflicts, you will pursue some of them at the expense of others.

Moving Away Values

These are pain-inducing values. These are a set of values/states that you'd do virtually anything to avoid. For example, you could prevent feelings of loneliness, embarrassment, guilt, melancholy, frustration, rage, rejection, and criticism. All of these are intense states, and they will, in many situations, supply you with a more potent "motivating force" than most of your 'toward' values, and this is especially important when it comes to attaining the correct life balance.

All of your moving-toward and moving-away values are organized into a sort of hierarchy that guides your daily choices and decisions. As a result, you have a scale for your moving-toward values on one side of the spectrum. These are the things that you enjoy doing. On the other hand, you have a hierarchy for your moving-away values on the other end of the spectrum. These are the things that cause you discomfort. Of course, you may not be consciously aware of this value hierarchy, but it is unmistakably present. It's reflected in the choices you make and the steps you take.

Means and ends values can be categorized within values. The tangible values of family and money are examples of means values. End values, on the other hand, are emotional values such as love and security.

Means values, on the other hand, are things that you might "desire to have." End values are the emotional states you want to feel as a result of your actions. For example, you may value family, but what you truly desire is love. Your family provides you with the affection you want, and the money you earn provides you with the stability and independence you desire. Another example is that you may place a high value on money, but you genuinely want security or freedom.

Both values are valid, but it's critical to keep an eye out for the ends-values while examining your value hierarchy. Your ends-values are the things you truly desire due to obtaining the tangible items you believe you prefer.


Dealing with uncomfortable experiences like anxiety, despair, and childhood trauma recollections requires a lot of energy for most individuals. It may feel like it takes everything you have to keep afloat at times, leaving little room for anything else. It is worthwhile to devote some time and energy to recognizing and living by our values to be better prepared to deal with these challenges and life's problems in general.

It's one thing to identify your unique fundamental values; living them is a great way to live an intentional life. Because you know who you are and what you stand for (or won't stand for), living your values gives more stability and authenticity to your life.

Our values serve as a compass for who we are, how we act in different situations, and where we want to go in life. When we have a strong sense of purpose and direction and behave according to our values, we are less likely to feel overwhelmed or thrown off course when confronted with difficult situations.

To learn more about your values and motivations, and inspire a sense of meaning in your life the following resources can help: