Meaning of Values
What are Values:
Values are the principles, virtues, or qualities that characterize a person, an action, or an object that are typically considered positive or of great importance to a social group.
Values motivate people to act in one way or another because they are part of their belief system, determine their behaviors, and express their interests and feelings.
Values define the thoughts of individuals and the way they want to live and share their experiences with those around them.
There is a series of values that are shared by society and establish how people's behaviors and attitudes should be, with the aim of achieving collective well-being.
Among the most important values, human values stand out because they have greater recognition and impact on different social groups. These values are related to respect, tolerance, kindness, solidarity, friendship, honesty, love, justice, freedom, among others.
For example, freedom is a human value that all people have to make our decisions and express our feelings and opinions.
Now, when it comes to those values that are applied to a group of people in which cultures and social characteristics are taken into account, then we are talking about cultural values and social values.
Cultural values are related to the beliefs and customs shared by a group of people or community, and social values are the principles that the members of a society recognize and apply to relate to each other.
There are also ethical and moral values, which refer to the norms and behaviors, respectively, practiced in society and by individuals.
Finally, in more specific contexts, we can differentiate between family values, which are those that a person shares with their closest environment; religious values, specific to each person's belief, and personal values, which are the guidelines that each individual establishes in their conduct.
Examples of the most important values
Below is a list of the most important values and what they mean.
- Respect: allows us to recognize and accept that all people are equally important. Respect defines the way we act in front of others.
- Love: helps us to act from the good through the respect and freedom that each person possesses.
- Justice: it is about acting and making the most balanced decisions according to each person or situation deserves.
- Freedom: human value that people have to make our decisions and express our feelings and opinions.
- Tolerance: accept that all people are unique with the qualities and defects that identify them.
- Responsibility: it is the fulfillment of obligations that were accepted or previously agreed.
- Goodness: it is the desire to do good to other people.
- Gratitude: refers to being grateful to all those who help us and provide support.
- Humility: the ability to recognize our limitations and weaknesses without feeling shame or guilt.
- Solidarity: principle that allows us to give our help to any helpless person.
- Loyalty: value that invites us to be faithful to what we believe, whether it is a person, rule, etc.
- Forgiveness: it refers to knowing how to forgive and asking for forgiveness. Forgiveness gives up revenge.
- Patience: it is a virtue that allows us to endure setbacks with a mature and positive attitude.
- Honesty: it is a fundamental value to establish relationships based on respect, trust and telling the truth.
See also The 10 most important values for society and their meanings.
Ethical values and moral values
Ethics and morals are terms that are related to values. Although in many cases ethical values and moral values are spoken interchangeably, these terms do not have the same meaning.
Ethical values are the behavioral guidelines that seek to regulate people's behavior. They are universal values and are acquired during the individual development of each person. For example, in professional life, values such as responsibility or justice are key.
For their part, moral values are those transmitted by society, from one generation to another, and can vary over time. In some cases, they may be determined by religious doctrine. For example, values such as solidarity or honesty are very important in social settings.
See also The 5 most important ethical values with examples.
There are a large number of values, both general and specific, whose order of importance varies in each individual or social group.
For example, between friends there is a set of shared values such as friendship and respect. However, each member has a different set of personal values.
The value scale indicates that there is a hierarchical system in which some values are prioritized over others when there is a conflict.
Likewise, the values that are considered most important are those that encompass a broader or more complex meaning, for example, the value of love contains the value of friendship.
Hence, these values serve as a source of motivation and condition human decision-making and actions.
See also Scale of values.
Importance of values
Values form the basis for achieving the personal and general well-being of all those around us, which is why they are considered important for several reasons.
In the first place, because they are related to our behaviors and the way in which we develop our lives from a personal, family, work and social point of view, although their hierarchy of importance varies in each of these aspects.
For example, in our homes we apply certain values such as love, communication and gratitude with our parents, siblings, grandparents or partner, to establish a healthy coexistence and mutual respect.
But if we meet at school or work, we can put into practice various social values, because we act from responsibility and respect with those around us. Even if we refer to our community, we also make use of values such as tolerance and solidarity to establish positive links with our neighbors.
In this sense, the importance of values lies in recognizing the principles that govern our behaviors and feelings, and that motivate us to be better people every day.
Values are also important because they serve as a guide to make the right decisions in the face of various life events, and they allow us to take responsibility for our actions.