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Discover Your True Values to Live a Meaningful Life

Discover Your True Values to Live a Meaningful Life

Living a meaningful life is often tied to understanding your values and living up to them. By discovering and embracing our true values, we can find purpose, fulfillment, and direction in our lives.

understanding your values -
understanding your values –

Contents: Understanding your values

What are Values?

Values are the guiding principles that shape our behavior, decisions, and actions. They are the beliefs and ideals that are important to us and reflect what we stand for. Our values influence how we prioritize our time, energy, and resources, and they play a significant role in shaping our identity and sense of self.

Some examples of common personal values include:

  • Integrity: Being honest, ethical, and authentic
  • Compassion: Showing care, empathy, and kindness towards others
  • Responsibility: Being reliable, dependable, and accountable
  • Creativity: Thinking originally, innovating, and expressing uniqueness
  • Community: Connecting with and contributing to others
  • Success: Achieving goals and finding fulfillment
  • Health: Pursuing physical, mental, and emotional wellness

Our values develop through our life experiences and the influences around us like family, friends, community, culture, religion, education etc. They act as an internal compass that guides our choices and behaviors.

understanding your values -  Identifying Your Values
understanding your values – Identifying Your Values

Identifying Your Values

Discovering your true personal values requires self-reflection and introspection. It means tuning out all the external voices and exploring within yourself what really matters to you.

Here are some ways to identify your core values:

1. Look at your past choices – Think about the major decisions you have made in life regarding career, relationships, lifestyle, interests etc. and the reasoning behind them. What mattered most to you in making those decisions? What principles shaped your direction? Reflecting on your important life choices can reveal the values that subconsciously guide you.

2. Consider your role models – Who do you admire and look up to? Why do you appreciate and respect them? The qualities you admire in others likely reflect the values you hold dear. If you admire someone strongly for their integrity, it probably means integrity is an important guiding principle for you as well.

3. Listen to your emotions – When you have felt your best in life, when you have experienced anger, stress or sadness, what were the driving factors behind those emotions? Our emotional reactions provide insight into what we care about most. If you get very angry at injustice, you likely value fairness and equality. If you feel empty pursuing money and status, you may value purpose and contribution more.

4. Imagine the end – Picture yourself at the end of your life, looking back. What do you want to be remembered for by your loved ones? How do you want people to describe you and your legacy? Envisioning the impact you want to have and the person you want to be can reveal your deepest values.

5. Keep a journal‌ – For a week or longer, document when you feel really happy, proud, stressed, anxious etc. and explore what principles or beliefs may have driven those feelings. Over time you may notice consistent patterns that point to your core values.

6. Take values tests – There are many free, simple values assessment tools online that ask a series of questions about what is important to you and then determine your top values based on your responses. While not definitive, these tests can provide useful inspiration for self-discovery.

By repeatedly asking yourself “What matters most to me?” in all aspects of life, over time you will develop clarity on the principles that form your true north.

understanding your values -  Living by Your Values
understanding your values – Living by Your Values

Living by Your Values

Once you have identified your core personal values, making choices and acting in alignment with them gives you integrity and a sense of purpose. But it usually takes ongoing reflection, discipline and courage to translate your values from paper into practice.

Here are some tips for living by your values:

Clarify what they mean – For each of your top values like service, trust, freedom etc. clearly define what they look like in action day-to-day. What do they require of you? Making them explicit will help guide your moment-to-moment decisions.

Set priorities – Committing to all values equally is unrealistic. Thoughtfully rank them from most to least important for this season of your life. Ensure your time, energy and resources align with your priority order. Re-evaluate and rebalance as life circumstances change.

Create reminders – Display visual quotes, images or phrases around your home and office that reinforce your top values to keep them front and center as you go about your day. Set calendar alerts related to important values as another practical reminder.

Take inventory – At the end of each week, reflecting on how well you lived by your values and which ones may have been compromised due to other priorities. Regular check-ins ensure you course-correct when needed.

Make conscious choices – When faced with major decisions around your career, health, finances and relationships, walk slowly through the options, considering each one deeply through the lens of your values. Let them guide your path without undue external influences.

Practice, practice! – Values-based living is an ongoing practice that requires vigilance, discipline and self-compassion. You’ll make mistakes and have regrets even with the best intentions. When you come up short, reflect humbly on what you can learn vs judging yourself harshly. Then refocus and continue on your journey.

understanding your values – The Impact of Living by Your Values

The Impact of Living by Your Values

Living by your true values can have a profound impact on your overall well-being and purpose. Some of the potential benefits include:

1. Greater fulfillment – When your daily actions and life direction align with your inner truth, you’re more likely to feel a sustained sense of motivation, meaning and fulfillment even amidst life’s inevitable ups and downs.

2. Improved self-confidence – Staying true to your values builds self-trust, self-respect and a quiet confidence stemming from inner alignment and genuineness that is not dependent on external validation.

3. Less stress & anxiety – Many stressors and worries arise from feeling pulled away from what you know to be deeply important by the urgencies and pressures of daily life. Living by your values alleviates much of this tension and brings greater peace.

4. Richer relationships – Truly understanding someone’s values provides a window into their priorities, motivations and character. Sharing your authentic values bonds relationships and resolving value conflicts deepens intimacy.

5. A moral compass – Values provide an internal GPS for navigating the complex dilemmas and decisions we all face. Honoring your moral compass, even when it means going against the grain, builds character and wisdom.

In essence, living by your values aligns your daily existence with your highest self—who you strive to become at your best. It’s this alignment that enables lasting fulfillment.

Of course values-based living has its share of challenges too – from making difficult choices that disappoint others or deviate from societal norms to relinquishing some desires for those that matter most. But the clarity, meaning and inner peace it provides makes the journey worthwhile.

understanding your values - Exploring the limits
understanding your values – Exploring the limits


Identifying and living by your personal values is essential for a clear sense of purpose and a life well lived. Your values are your deepest truths—and when your daily choices honor them, you build unshakeable inner strength, direction and joy. Make self-reflection a regular practice, choose priorities that align with your truest principles, create practical reminders and connect daily decisions back to what matters most. Small, consistent steps towards values-based living add up to a life of great meaning centered around who you really are.

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