Values are a function of self-expression. They convey a part of our identity and our beliefs. Values represent how we conduct ourselves in daily life and set the foundations of our decisions, attitudes and behaviours. While values are essentially formed in early childhood from family, friends and other influences, they develop over time and are reinforced or changed in response to life experiences. Examples of values which might evolve in childhood include not wasting food, not being lazy and viewing achievement as good.
Your early views of what is right and wrong inform your values in the present. Ask yourself some of these questions: is speaking up for yourself right or wrong? What are your thoughts on vegetarianism? Are sexual relations before marriage permissible or impermissible?
We can have many values for ourselves individually, our family, friendships, our careers and more.
Have you ever lined up for a tram, a train or a bus that arrives already full? You might have seen a few people get on and others having to wait. Values that first come to mind are the values of most importance, those at the front of the line. Whilst other values are important, those at the front of the line will play a role in guiding your decisions, attitudes and behaviour.