Values and personal growth are intimately intermingled. This article will help us explore the differences and similarities between human and personal values (also called moral values) as well as how adopting certain values can enhance our self growth and attract positive experiences into our life.
As soon as we reach the age in which we can distinguish 'right from wrong', our parents, teachers and mentors start exerting a great deal of efforts into instilling positive human values in us.
As children, we constantly ask about these values, we wonder about their purpose, we test them, explore them, and question their benefit to us in the long run. And as we grow up, we finally come to terms with their significance, and their place within modern society and in our own lives. Moreover, we learn how living by a set of values sets our destiny as they act like guideposts on the path we are to follow in life.
Human values can be categorized as universal. In general, they are ideals accepted by the human civilization at large.
Personal values, on the other hand, mean different things to different people, yet they cover common ground for most.
These facts make it somewhat difficult to define the term "Values" but let’s give it a try.
In essence, values can be defined as socially appreciated beliefs or philosophies which hold a certain meaning that is unique to every individual but common to most human beings. Nurturing one value –or a set of them- can encourage confidence in oneself and our being accepted in the society we live in and in civilization as a whole.
Because of their uniqueness, personal values cannot be included in a rulebook in a way that every individual has to live up to them. As the word implies, they all are person-specific and the values acquired by one person might not be held by another. This doesn’t necessarily make a person good or bad as values are also relevant to personal life experiences and viewpoints.
Amongst the vast assortment of values, each personal value chosen and practiced will end up giving shape to the personality and character of a human being, individually and uniquely. At the same time, following human values within a society will grant peace and happiness to the whole.
So, does this mean that values have a cultural or regional divide? Not exactly, because although the cultures, religions and lifestyles may differ in different parts of the planet, the broader meaning of good and bad remain intact in every corner of the world.
In general, human values instil goodness, positivity, and optimism in human beings and these aren’t necessarily related to the socio-political scenario of one’s country, region, or beliefs.
Because of this, every conscious parent -regardless of origin- teaches his/her offspring a mix of both, human and personal values according to their own morals and life experience. A common sample of these include to be compassionate towards living beings around them, to be kind and polite, to be humble and helpful, and to hold fast to one’s integrity at any cost. As such, these values are universal and have no cultural borders.
Self-Growth is possible only to the degree that a person adopts, nurtures and exercises his/her choices of human and personal values. In this manner, personal growth is a very unique experience, one of many degrees that relates not only to the specific set of values a person acquires but to the ones most admired by his kith and kin.
A well-balanced individual must nurture both, human and personal values such as love for mankind, tolerance and respect for one another, honesty, empathy, harmony towards the environment, creativity, faith in oneself, courage, perseverance, discipline, goodness, kindness, and the importance of being truthful in the new generation.
Although there are multitudes of values which deserve a mention (and will be covered as this web section grows), the few mentioned above, if instilled, will help any person grow and develop to become a pristine human being, one that can help create a world we can be proud of.
An interesting point to mention is that even though human values are somehow instinctive and personal values are learned, they both exert influence and give shape to the personality and character traits of the individual. As such, these two constructs integrate conceptually.
Thus, you will most likely agree with me that the evolution of the human race into a better civilization is practically impossible unless we acquire and live by the right set of values, grow as individuals and together as part of something grander, as well as passing on those teachings to future generations.
From the individual to the community, and from the small town to the world at large, values in general are crucial for us –human beings- to evolve in every sense, because the person with the most honorable values holds a better chance to excel in life and be admired and revered by his family, society, and the world in general, as he/she contributes to making the planet a better place for us all.