A new year, which means new rounds and new opportunities. A good time to rethink our moral values. What exactly are moral values? Does it make us better human beings? Do ideals have a significant impact on our well-being and happiness, indeed?
Moral values are basic principles or norms of behavior that guide our actions and decisions. Those are ideals that say something about our character. Basic principles that influence how we interact with others, both at work and at home. Think of honesty, respect, justice, and compassion. In short, moral values are about personal integrity and meaning.
Guidance for ethical action
Moral values are crucial from the perspective of enlightenment and civilization we could say, although ideals are as old as the existence of mankind. Because those are about intentions, attitudes and behavior, such as how we treat animals, the planet and ourselves. Values that determine what is right and wrong within a certain context, again and again.
Without a strong sense of right and wrong, which I also call justice, we lack direction for ethical action, for example in the case of choices, conflicts, or other difficult situations.
Collective benefits on the back of individual ideals
Now that a new year is ahead of us, we can develop our moral values further if necessary, with inner silence and anchoring. For most people, the core values will remain pretty much the same throughout the course of their lives. But changing times, collective and complex matters and a work-life, in which personal growth is rightly so supported more and more, make us rethink what is essential to us.
What do we care about most? What principles or beliefs guide our actions and decisions? Which values will become extra important for our code of ethics in the coming year? How do we find belonging to ourselves and bond with others, based on those ideals that we have honed with a moral compass?
Because let it be clear that thinking about moral values is not me, me, me and too little we. Various scientific studies and ancient psychological-spiritual systems including shamanism and Kabbalah endorse in many ways that if a human being lives with integrity and ideals, possibly integral if we will, the collective benefits from this.
This is partly because constructive wishes arise from moral values instead of a meaningless, transitory or self-centered urge to manifest. Constructive, as in that it concerns all of us. Living with integrity means intentionally – consciously – thinking and acting on the back of ideals, which supports individual and collective vitality. In other words, contemplating moral values leads to what is good for all of us.
Being allowed to keep each other sharp
It is true that our environment, or the people around us, usually determine our values and beliefs. Often culture and mentality are involved, and we are consciously or unconsciously and softly or hardly programmed instead of inspired. Until we become stronger and determine what really suits us – a combination of awakening, maturity and growth. For some, it starts at an early age. For others, it only follows when they have already been quite affected by life.
Replacing old ideals with new ones and examining and sharpening beliefs is also about new information and experiences. Because when we know better, we do better. Inspired by new information and experiences instead of programmed means that we are allowed to keep each other sharp. That we continue to rise in a flow of normative increments. After all, with sincere intentions, we are able to absorb the drops and continue to climb together. It starts with individual effort. Of course, it is also important to stop regularly and enjoy the view. 2023: celebrate your ideals!
Feeling of relief or suffocation
Still not convinced? Alright. There are benefits to living a moral life, with ideals to match. It promotes our involvement, togetherness, moral assertiveness and natural life transitions. All of this happens because our mental and emotional well-being is integrated rather than fragmented. In other words, we experience a permanent state of happiness beyond the conditional. This improves the quality of our relationships. After all, relationships that match our ideals of the phase that we are in.
All of this is best experienced rather than comprehended. There are many exercises and tools for that. On the back of a feeling of relief or suffocation, for example, we can sense what is good for us. If we live according to our ideals, our health is often much better compared to that of others, and we usually live longer. Yep, all common sense.
Now, it is about you
Now, it is about you. One of the best ways to live by our moral values is to keep them in mind daily. For small and large decisions in 2023, check how it feels. Does it feel like a relief or constriction? Calm or agitated? Sharp or nauseous?
Think critically and deeply about matters on the back of a moral compass and the (new) ideals. And make those moral values known. Discuss them at work and at home. Again, remember that what is determined on the back of the sincere intentions of the individual simply cannot be wrong for the collective. Let me give that reassurance. Not convinced yet? Feel free to challenge me if this needs clarification.
Need more tools and exercises and want to know more? Feel free to schedule your integrity consult via email.
The Dutch version of this article was published by Boom Management, and NieuwWij.