This post is for V in the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2012. Link in the sidebar.
Values are often considered to be the basis for ethical actions, they reflect an internal sense of right and wrong and influence behaviour. When a group of people share a common set of values and ideals of social expectations we refer to them as cultural values - they add meaning and value to life. Values generally reflect how we choose to live and ideally won’t be arbitrarily imposed by another group or more powerful person.
Values are different to goals which can be achieved or completed, then ticked off a list. They're often deeper and create an internal reference for what may be good, beneficial, important, desirable or constructive and lead to both individual and community behaviours and actions.
Many values revolve around family, marriage and close relationships, friendships, employment, education and personal development, recreation, the environment and health.
It’s certainly beneficial to reflect quietly on the place of values in your life particularly when you're stressed and ill at ease. It's easy to lose sight of some of our values in the hurly burly of our frenetic pace of life. We're so busily connected and on-line that the illusion of being together can mask a deep loneliness and distance from what gives our lives meaning.
It’s often when people are unhappy at work or in relationships that they find the need to take stock and reconnect with their core values which they may have been ignoring. There's benefit in reflecting on unhealthy attitudes that lead to a feeling of being ill at ease, and questioning whether for instance, your work-life, which may have evolved over many years, is now at odds with deep inner needs.
Some people find it confronting to thing about deep questions, but discover a sense of empowerment when they discover that they’ve been guided by other people’s judgements and opinions which don’t reflect who they truly are. They find it liberating and enriching to acknowledge and consciously choose a course of action in line with their own values rather than those of another person.
Living according to your values isn’t the same as being thoughtless, flippant or glib. Values need to be concrete, positive and proactive to give our lives a healthy, meaningful structure, leading to richness and fulfilment.
How do Values relate to Climate Matters?
Many people are concerned about food security and are putting a higher value on becoming more self reliant rather than being increasingly dependent on food being sourced from across the world.
Food and many other goods are transported in container ships using depleting fuel supplies through unstable weather systems during times of political and economic instability. Many waterways are at the mercy of well resourced and trained pirates intent on destabilising international commerce. As our climate changes individual and community values will be challenged and reviewed in light of unfolding events locally and internationally.
There is an emerging focus on issues such as sustainability, well-being, community building and civic engagement that needs a clear cultural values based perspective to be successfully implemented. Addressing these issues by acknowledging the role of values in communities would reflect common values and ways of life of the communities on which they impact.
Acknowledging the vital function of values both individually and at the community level is increasingly recognised as a critical aspect of social and human development. Individuals and businesses might ask "Does this decision I am about to make support and lead me in the direction of a value I hold? Or does it lead me away from this value?"
See Q is for Quadruple bottom line here and T is for Trees here.
What can you do right now that leads you in the direction of a core value?
Last year I wrote about what makes people Vulnerable to workplace bullying for the letter V. Here and a drabble about Valiant volunteers here.