How does one define values or a value system?
A value could be defined as a belief or attitude that you hold close; something that you want to keep as a standard for judging yourself and the rest of the world. It is the basis for your sense of right and wrong, good or bad.
It is our values that drive us to act in certain ways, to lead a certain lifestyle and to shun certain habits. For instance, if you truly believe that consuming alcohol is not a good thing, you will not drink. And if you do, you will probably feel guilty and regret it later. If you meet others who do not believe in the same things as you do, you might be uncomfortable with them. Or at least, you might not approve of them and be afraid that they do not approve of you.
Each of us has a unique value system actually – almost as unique as our fingerprints. Because a value system is not just something that is passed down from parents or learnt through behavior in schools etc. It is fine-tuned and developed through personal experiences, in combination with the values that our immediate society (the social circle in which we live and the people with whom we interact) lends to us.
Yet, value systems can differ starkly even within the same family or group of friends. For instance, your parents may think it is wrong to marry out of your own caste or community, while your brother may not believe in marriage at all.
Similarly, you may not like lying to your parents but your best friend may think it is just another way of making life easier. Therefore, honesty is a value for you.
Values can be related to health, cultural awareness, spirituality, religion, preservation of nature, integrity, loyalty, wealth, stability and security, creativity, independence, search for fame or peace, personal growth and education.
There are many values and any combination of these separate values will form a person’s value system. To figure out yours, you must do a lot of soul-searching, ask yourself questions about what really matters to you and what you deeply believe in, or what are the issues that you are not willing to compromise on – that will be your unique set of values.