Why knowing your values is important for living in harmony with yourself and people around you

Find out how values influence emotions and affect relationships!


Claudia Vece – 5 December 2023

What are personal values?

Personal values are unique and each of us gives them a hierarchy of importance and their own meanings. Values distinguish us and make us unique. Values are the driving force behind our behaviour and knowing them allows us to understand how we function, how we act, react and in which direction we wish to go.

Some examples of values might be:

  • Friendship
  • The couple
  • Financial success
  • Health
  • Spirituality

It is the meaning we give to values that distinguishes us and drives us to seek certain experiences rather than others. For one person ‘friendship’ might mean ‘loyalty, mutual trust and support’ while for someone else it might mean ‘fun, adventure and play’. This example also highlights that to explain one value, we use other values!

It is crucial to identify values because they tell us what is important to us and thus point us in a potential direction to follow.

This direction is not fixed, as values change throughout life; what interested us fifteen years ago no longer attracts us today and what interests us today will not attract us in a few years. Values change, they are formed and transformed; they are not fixed and immutable.

Team Quantasia, Claudia ed Alessia

How values act in interpersonal relationships

We are attracted, by connection and feelings, to people with values like ours, while people with different values annoy us, drive us away, we do not want to associate with them. Values help us understand both our emotions and the dynamics in our relationships.

In human relationships, reasoning ‘in terms of values’ allows us to remain objective in our understanding of others, their needs, behaviour, and choices, and helps us to establish balanced, deep, and authentic bonds. Values allow us to see and understand our interlocutors for what they really are, enabling us to accept them more easily in the way they function.

When we ‘don’t like’ a person, it is preferable to formulate that this person does not have a value system ‘akin’ or ‘in tune’ with our value system. When we ‘don’t like’ a person, it is right to ask ourselves what we don’t like about them in terms of values; it is not the person that we don’t like, it is their value system that collides with ours. When someone challenges one of our values, we feel a possible rejection for this person.

Thinking in terms of values allows us not to reject the person, but to understand what is not in tune with us; this mindset is certainly more constructive, consistent and ecological and less rigid and exclusive.

A simple and effective awareness exercise on one’s values

Claudia Vece

A useful exercise about values that you can try is to focus on the different categories of your life, such as family, couple, work… by asking yourself “what is important to you“.  Write down the ten most important values for each life category, for example in the couple it could be: “communication, loyalty, trust…”.

By asking yourself this new question and by investigating yourself, you can learn to listen to yourself in awareness.

To listen to the answers that will arise within you, however, you will have to relax the mind that believes to know everything and that will tend to respond mechanically with a strict list. Go beyond this mechanical process, do not give yourself an answer straight away, listen to yourself. For each value, you can also investigate your own meanings.

The aim is the awareness of what is important to you, to empower you to also express new, yet unexplored parts of you.  Some of you, in fact, may find that some of the things you carry on in life and give importance to, are not that important, you may instead discover that there is much more to explore within yourself and that perhaps it is worth making some space.

Remember that the best way to make space in your inner world is to ask yourself new questions!

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