Be sure to constantly reflect upon your core values to ensure that you are living life in accordance with your guiding principles. It could be said that every person has the same values, what makes individuals unique is the importance with which we regard every specific value.
“In order to be true to yourself you must know yourself and to know yourself you must reflect on who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do.”
The reason we must reflect upon our values is because they are our compass that guides us towards being what we envision as the ideal version of our self. Having a clear understanding of the values that matter most to us allows us to check in and ensure that we are making the type of decisions and holding the types of thoughts that align and honor the values which we hold dear. When we fail to take time to contemplate the principles that we value, then we become a ship without a rudder and allow ourselves and our decisions to wander in whatever direction may provide the least resistance or be the most enticing at any time. Having a firm conceptualization of the values we choose to embody gives us the strength to make tough decisions that keep us on the proper path towards becoming that ideal version of ourselves.
When we maintain a firm knowledge of what we value, then we may both scrutinize past decisions to ensure they are in keeping with said values as well as use this understanding to point us in the proper direction for future choices. Most choices have consequences good and bad. When making choices it is necessary that one has a close conception of their values, as the decision can be understood as good or bad, worth it or not worth it, depending on whether it requires one to compromise any of their core values.
Not only must we have an awareness of those values we most hold dear, but we must have at least a vague notion of their hierarchy of importance to our self. There are possible scenarios wherein a decision must be made but not without the compromising of at least one value. In this instance the correct choice for any one of us is to make the choice that maintains the integrity of the more important value. If justice and honesty are our two most important values, then a situation wherein we had the choice to either cover up for a dear coworker or to report them to HR – for example – the correct choice for us would be to turn the friend in rather than help them out. Friendship is a value for all of us and in most cases any of us would do whatever we can for a friend. However in this hypothetical justice and honesty are more important, and as such we maintain our commitment to honesty by telling the truth and to justice by making sure that our friend is justly dealt with for whatever misdeed they are responsible for. Far be it for me to tell anyone how to act but I would think that in such a case, turning the friend in would ultimately be a service to our friend as it may help him or her to get their act together and start afresh with a clean slate, no longer having to look over their shoulder for any further consequences for what they had done.
The above is of course hypothetical but it is a realistic example of why we must have a close understanding of our guiding principles and values. Without such knowledge we are swayed by emotion rather than logic, and emotion has a way of often convincing us to behave or decide in such a manner that we eventually come to regret. Where emotion is susceptible to externalities, values, in a committed person are unaffected. Being committed to our values depends again on the initial point which is that we must reflect upon our values often. In order to act with conviction and maintain character, a close relationship with our values is vital. Consider also the fact that values have a way of changing over time as we find ourselves faced with new responsibilities, new information that alters our priorities, or new experiences that reframe what matters to us. Change is the nature of all things in the universe including values and the only way to stay on top of such change is with reflection and contemplation.
The way to become a happier person is to be true to yourself. In order to be true to yourself you must know yourself and to know yourself you must reflect on who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do. Everybody makes mistakes and finds themselves occasionally dealing with regret. The way to make fewer mistakes, to less often second guess yourself, and to have fewer regrets is to have an intimate understanding of your own core values and to ensure that they are your guiding light through all thoughts and actions.