Know Your Worth (No. 3): Establishing Your Values
This article is part of The Melanin Series’ “Know Your Worth” short-read miniseries. This series addresses the varying elements of knowing one’s value and self-worth.
Do you know your values? Your boundaries? Most of us have an idea of behaviour that we find good or acceptable. Perhaps you don’t tolerate swearing or lying from your friends and family. Maybe you are a firm believer in generosity and patience. Like features, values differ from person to person. While we may have similar values to our friends and family, their importance varies.
Let’s say you know what your values are. How often do you enforce them? If your friend has a habit of “borrowing” your kitchenware without asking, do you stand up for yourself? Do you calmly and kindly ask that they ask before taking your Tupperware or wine glasses, or do you let it slide? If you have family members who like to mock your values, do you cease to practice them, or do you stand your ground?
Many of us fail to practice our values around people who do not understand them. Establishing your values is an important part of developing your self-worth because your values are a part of who you are.
What are values?
In simple terms, your values are things that you believe in. Values are things that you may practice, such as reading the Bible or expressing gratitude daily. Your values are things that are important to you, like strong family bonds. All of these things, and more, make up who you are.
First impressions can be made about an individual based on your values. If you practice dishonourable acts such as cheating, lying, or stealing, then others may perceive you to be a dishonourable person. If you are polite, honest, and kind, then others may view you as decent.
No matter what your values are, they must be viewed as strong to you. Your values guide your actions. If your actions are good, then you will produce good. If your actions are bad, then they will produce bad.
Nobody can tell you what your values are.
To understand your values, you must get to know yourself. What makes you happy? Sad? Annoyed? Disheartened? Spending time with yourself through acts of self-care is the best way to become self-aware. In becoming self-aware, you will learn about your values.
How do your values affect your self-worth?
In simple terms, if you value yourself, then your actions will honour who you are. In honouring yourself, you can find a strong sense of self-worth. Like I said before, your values are a reflection of who you are. Positive values reflect a positive heart by practicing positive actions. Similarly, individuals with a strong sense of self-worth, uphold positive values in the interactions that they have with others.
If you have a strong sense of self-worth, then you will not compromise your values.
I have fallen into this trap many times. Many of us feel like we have to silence ourselves to be accepted by our peers or communities. Some of us disregard our values around these groups because they are seen as weird or make others feel uncomfortable.
Our values form the very foundation of who we are. This is not something that we should disregard, especially if they are positive values. Sometimes it takes courage to stand up for ourselves and the things that we believe in. Nevertheless, we owe it to ourselves to honour who we are.
Take this time to get to know what your values are.
You may have a clear idea of what your values are in general, but maybe you have difficulty honouring these values in certain social settings. Perhaps, you are confused about what your values truly are. What are your top values? What are your circumstantial values? Do you honour material things over virtues? How do your family values differ from your personal values?
Many of us have extra time on our hands and are struggling to know what to do with it. Take this time to get to know yourself by discovering your values. There is nothing wrong with writing them down or talking to a close friend. Self-awareness is an important part of self-care and establishing self-esteem. You deserve good things and understanding your positive values can help you obtain the good things you seek.
What are your thoughts?
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