General Question

essieness's avatar

What are your personal values?

Asked by essieness (7698points) May 24th, 2009

Personal values developed very early in life may be resistant to change. They may be derived from those of particular groups or systems, such as culture, religion, and political party. However, personal values are not universal; one’s family, nation, generation and historical environment help determine one’s personal values.

This article explains what I mean.

My top personal values include integrity, honesty, and I’m not sure what the concise word for this would be, but questioning everything, or taking nothing at face value.

What are those values that you adhere to no matter what the situation may be? In good and bad times, easy and difficult times… what do you not waver on?

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51 Answers

nikipedia's avatar


nikipedia's avatar

@essieness: Great question! :)

SeventhSense's avatar

My word is bond,
Principles before personalities,
Forgiveness is my only function,
Peace of mind is my only goal,
Love overcomes all evil.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

As time goes and I gain experiences, most of my values and principles that were once so easy to understand and take for granted have been challenged. It’s been rough but I’m glad I’ve gone through them in order to feel more compassionate. There are a few things I still believe I will say I will not bend on:

I don’t believe child molestation is forgivable
I don’t believe rape is forgivable

jackfright's avatar

i believe largely in 1 thing; adaptation. context is nearly everything; do not judge, and simply flow. use the right tool for the right job. when i go to a country that has no laws, i bribe freely, when i go to a country with strict laws, i adhere to the letter.

knitfroggy's avatar

I just try to treat everyone the same way I would like to be treated. I guess this is probably simple, but it’s really just something I was brought up on. I’m bringing my kids up that way too.

sailor's avatar

I honestly don’t think personal values/morals change too much between individuals. Doesn’t everyone value some kind of honesty? Doesn’t everyone value equality? It’s just that everyone has their own way of acting upon them—or the meaning gets warped to them somewhere along the way.

Up until high school, I went to Catholic school. I was always surrounded by nuns and priests… my parents took the family to church on Sundays (still do)... that sort of thing. I don’t consider myself terribly religious, or even spiritual at all, but a lot of my own morals and thoughts have always extended from that—“Do unto others…” and sacrifice.

essieness's avatar

@sailor That’s probably because “do unto others…” is a universal truth that extends beyond religion. I’m not sure how to put this, but what I’m trying to say is that I believe that most core values that people have are really human values, not just religious or non-religious. If that makes sense. You make a good point.

augustlan's avatar

Ok, I know I’ve said this before, and it’s probably getting old… but it just simplifies everything for me.

Do the right thing. Period.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

To not intentionally harm others in any shape way or form. That pretty much sums up all of the independent values that make up the first statement, of which there are many.

sailor's avatar

@essieness Yeah, exactly. I’ve never really liked the idea that certain values are part of or without a religion. Some things are just common beliefs.

rooeytoo's avatar

The good ole Golden Rule, I think it should be the basis for all interaction between humans. It could be a perfect world that way

YARNLADY's avatar

@augustlan I agree, that fits just about everything.

hearkat's avatar

Honesty and personal accountability; also trying to see other people’s point of view and to imagine myself in their shoes… not just in an emotional empathetic sense, but in a physical and intellectual sense— is there a word for that? (my mind is drawing blanks)

dynamicduo's avatar

@essieness The word for your concept is “skepticism”. Although it has a common association with UFO hunters etc, it is the exact word for questioning everything, looking back at why someone is saying something, etc.

My number one value is respect. This takes many forms, including punctuality (or at least phoning to say you’ll be late) and honesty. My number two is rationality. I also highly value skepticism and thinking for oneself, although I would be more likely to say these are character traits versus values not that anyone really cares about such narrow definitions.

SirBailey's avatar

Respect life and living things, be honest, trust no one totally, never forget that words can hurt and always work hard.

Fyrius's avatar

Reason and integrity. Everything else I could change my mind about in good conscience.

As for not ever wavering on these: I do hope so, but I think it would be naive to assert so. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced hardship intense enough to make me do literally anything to make it stop. When I think of the ending chapters of 1984, I’m hesitant to be so presumptuous as to say I would never forsake my principles.

essieness's avatar

Great answers everyone!

augustlan's avatar

@essieness Great question!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Keeping one’s word/promises, taking responsibility for one’s actions/consequences, compassion towards other living beings/animals/earth, fairness/justice/equality, to strive to learn/to not judge/to understand

Fyrius's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: “compassion towards other living beings/animals/earth”
That last one caught me by surprise. Do you think the earth has feelings?

CMaz's avatar

It feels like a cliché to spell it out. “Truth, Justice, and the American way.” My personal values are what makes me tick. Gets me through the day. Really is a personal thing.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Fyrius I think that we’re all part of it and having compassion to earth results in a better life for all things living

Fyrius's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: I just don’t understand what you mean by “having compassion to earth.”

A literal interpretation makes no sense, because one can by definition only have compassion towards something that actually has feelings. And the earth is in itself just a large inanimate ball of rock and magma.
So when you say “compassion towards the earth”, do you use “the earth” as a metaphor for “the collective ecosystem of all living things”? Compassion towards life in general?
Or are you stretching the notion of “compassion” to include treating our environment in a responsible way?

Fyrius's avatar

Well, okay.

Bit of a reach to refer to that as a form of “compassion”, but okay. I’m not going to get into semantic nitpicking.

Clair's avatar

don’t judge others because you never know what someone is going through until you experience it yourself. i know value humility and determination. and of course, the duh huhs, integrity, honesty, etc. i think everyone has those and then we have our specialty.

SeventhSense's avatar

The Golden Rule is quite subjective at times.
For example if one is a masochist, doing unto others as one would have done to them would be to act sadistically towards others.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve heard a twist on the Golden Rule that I think is more appropriate: Treat others the way they wish to be treated.

nikipedia's avatar

@augustlan: Just when I think you can’t get any wiser…

Fyrius's avatar

@augustlan: Other complications arise.
This way you end up giving anyone whatever they want, even to your own detriment. And what to do if two people want to be treated in incompatible ways? Whom do you treat the way they want and whom don’t you?
And how to treat a stranger? How can you know how they would like to be treated?

Having gone through this whole train of thought before, I’ve come to favour another variant.

Golden Rule, Third Amendment: “Just use your common sense already. I’m not your mum.”

augustlan's avatar

I second the Third Amendment. :)

Clair's avatar

@augustlan so if i were a sex addict or if i were suicidal, would you treat me the way i wanted to be treated? and would you consider this a great value?

augustlan's avatar

@Clair See the Third Amendment, above ^^.

SeventhSense's avatar

So beat up masochists?

YARNLADY's avatar

Doesn’t “Do the right thing” cover all those nonsense comments?

augustlan's avatar

Which, was of course, my original answer. :D

SeventhSense's avatar


Fyrius's avatar

@YARNLADY: It does, of course, but that’s not very helpful. All the phrase “do the right thing” says is to stick to your principles, whatever they are. A much more interesting question is what your principles would be.

shrubbery's avatar

Don’t judge. Don’t assume. Keep learning. Take responsibility. Be honest. Care.
@augustlan, I’m sorry but I don’t understand what you mean by “Do the right thing.” How do you determine what the right things is?

augustlan's avatar

@shrubbery I don’t know if I can adequately explain it, but I’ll give it a shot.

I think we all know what the right thing is in most situations, but we can easily rationalize making a different choice (ie: ‘No one will know’ or ‘It’s not that big a deal’ or ‘the ends justify the means’). We need to overcome human nature and rise above it. To not listen to that ‘rationalization voice’, but the one beneath that… the one that is true.

Sometimes it’s not so easy to know what the right thing is, and in those cases I’ll either a) do nothing until I have more information and do know – or, if that’s not a viable option – b) do what will cause the least harm (or does the greatest good) for all involved in my estimation.

If I have to break it down, it pretty much looks like this: Don’t lie, steal, cheat, or harm… even if no one is looking, and even if it causes me some unpleasantness. Be compassionate. Offer love, not hate. Try to understand. Show empathy. Act with good intent.

I’m sure there are things I’m missing in here. It’s almost 7 AM, and I haven’t been to sleep yet. :)

shrubbery's avatar

@augustlan, thanks, I understand now :)

Fyrius's avatar

“Integrity can be defined as doing the right thing for the right reasons even when nobody is looking.” – Anonymous

Just a quotation you reminded me of.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

Be understanding of other people, be as non-judgemental as possible, be open to everything, be polite, yet, stand your ground, and that being vindictive serves no one.

Fyrius's avatar

I’ve been non-judgemental for years. I’ve been literally unable to judge people. And I don’t mean unable to judge them correctly, I mean unable to judge them at all. I’m still not very good at it.
I don’t recommend it. You’ll just confuse yourself.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

To do the best for myself with my mortal time left while considering all moves and doing the least harm to others. It’s changed a lot of the way I think about things I’m used to wanting or having, makes things more simple for me which has really eased my feeling of panic in my life, the “this is not where I thought I’d be” part of life.

SeventhSense's avatar

I can teach you.
Nice dog tie. I was raised with purebred wolves…the Golden Retrievers were always so pedestrian. Of course, not that there’s anything wrong with the common dog.~

Fyrius's avatar

“the Golden Retrievers were always so pedestrian.”
I now have a mental image of other dogs riding around on scooters.

YARNLADY's avatar

Never lie, never cheat, be happy every single day for the rest of my life.

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