What are values? And what are principals? And what is the difference? What are my specific values and principals and do I live by them? What impact does living in line with ones own values and principles does it have on a persons overall sense of intrinsic worth? What happens when the two peoples, or two groups of peoples values collide? How do you reach a common ground, without sacrificing any integrity?
These are all questions I have been asking myself recently. Especially in the light of not drinking. And trying to understand why that causes the social disconnect that I feel. So I will attempt to answer each question, in my own scrabbled way. . .
What are Values? And what are principals? And what is the difference?
Values and principals are very similar, however there is a crucial difference between the two. Values are intrinsic characteristic qualities that are subjective to the individual, they are (what ‘value’ a person gives to a specific habit or behaviour). Principals are laws, they don’t change regardless of the individual.
Think lighthouses and ships, both emit light and communicate with one another. Yet one of them always remains constant, and the other is subject to other influences and guidance.
For example. A person might value happiness. But the principals for achieving happiness are gratitude, appreciation and focussing on giving.
What are my specific values and principals? And do I live by them?
This is the question. The key question that is so very important that most of us take it for granted. But the very awareness of your own values and principals will massively increase the effectiveness of your decision making, your goal setting and your overall sense of self.
I managed to find a great link to a website that is a fantastic tool for discovering your own top 10 values. See a link here
Having gone through this and painstakingly and honestly thought about each comparison (it’s actually quite difficult), I have come up with my list as below:
These are the values. But the principals list is much harder to design. I suppose the principals will change with whatever area of life is being focussed on. Ie principals for happiness, would not be the same as principals for business success.
Being aware that there are different principals for different areas is quite freeing. As now when I approach a subject is think ‘what are the principals (or unchanging laws) for success in this area. They will soon reveal themselves to you if you are looking for them.
For example in my work, the principals for success are organisation, direct communication, and a strong health and safety focus. Amongst others
I can judge how well I am doing against these principals. Or let them be my guide when I have a tough decision to make. Living and working in this way keeps a person on track and in their own integrity.
The same goes for values. If major decisions need to be made. After knowing your values you can make your decision inline with which best fits your own unique values. This is a sure path to intrinsic self worth and happiness.
What happens when two peoples or groups of peoples collide, how do you reach a common ground and maintain integrity?
Such a tough question! but I think we can use the value of principal centred thinking to answer this.
The principals of the goal, reaching a common ground and maintaining integrity, will be the guide that will provide he answer. The principals are good communication, a genuine willingness to understand each other, knowing your own values and outcomes and acting with a win win outcome in mind.
Baring in mind these principals and your own set of values, one can begin to integrate and overlap the other sides values in order to reach a common ground. This will not negatively impact on integrity as it is done in the best of interests of both parties.
So now the key question, does drinking alcohol align me with my values!?
Here is the illusion! Drinking alcohol completely fills all of my values! Or so I think at the time. It’s gives a false sense of total fulfilment of all the values. But in the longer term, it is corroding them gradually.
When drinking I feel happy, authentic, courageous, competent etc… but that’s all false. And the truth is that I am actually the oppositee of those things.
Not only that, but in the long run the lasting effects are so negative to those values that the truth remains that I, and most drinkers have lost touch with the ability to fulfill our true values.
So we live out of integrity, out of alignment and live to survive, until the next time it’s socially acceptable to open a bottle of ‘value enhancer’.
When you stop drinking, you are left to face the gulf. The gap between living in your true integrity and values, and the false self that has been propping you up for so long.
At least now having the awareness of my own values, I can use them as a guiding light.
Onwards and upwards.