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Understanding your beliefs and values—respecting the beliefs of others

Posted Oct 21 2009 10:00pm

Your beliefs and values are what make you a unique individual. They are based upon past experiences as well as present circumstances. Many of them were learned from parents as well as other respected individuals. While some people may have values and beliefs that are deemed to be “wrong” according to society, unless your values and beliefs cause harm to others, they cannot be considered wrong. There is no such thing as the right way to think. In order for you to be able to resolve your conflicts and grow as an individual, you must be able to understand your beliefs and values. Beliefs and values are those that you hold the most dear to your heart. While some beliefs and values may change from time to time, they remain your own. For example, when you are young, you may feel that your religion is very important to you. You may go to church often and pray daily.As you get older, you may start to hold different beliefs – you may even change your religion. This is not wrong or right, just an example of how your beliefs and values can change with time. Your beliefs are best defined as what you feel is right or wrong when it comes to certain situations. Being opposed to the death penalty would be considered a belief. Again, this type of belief is subject to change. There are plenty of people who may have been against the death penalty when they were young and have grown in favor of this type of punishment as they got older. Beliefs are anything that causes you to make a decision.Values are those attributes that you hold most dear about yourself and others. Some people place high values on their families – nothing will allow them to part from their family members. A person who values their family above everything else will be unlikely to take a promotion that will separate themselves from their family. A person who values career above everything may be more inclined to take such a position. Again, values are personal and none are right or wrong. As you get older, your values may change. A young person, without children or a spouse, may place a higher emphasis on their career than an older person with children.To discover your beliefs and values, take out a piece of paper and write down what you value the most in life. List 10 things that you would not want to do without and put them in order of importance. Then list 10 strong beliefs that you have. After you have made this list, think about what you would be willing to compromise on. Obviously, there will be some things that you will be unwilling to compromise on and others that have more flexibility. When you are embroiled in conflict, you will be aware of these values and beliefs, those which you can find a compromise and those where you will not bend.While we are taught that being flexible is good in life, it is not good to be too flexible.. You are allowed to have core beliefs and values and stick to them. This is what makes you a strong person. At the same time, you should be aware of the fact that not everyone will share your views when it comes to your beliefs and values. You may have a conflict with an individual whose views and beliefs are different than your own. In such cases, it may be difficult to resolve the conflict. 

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