Why It’s Important to Be Defined by Your Personal Values and Not External Factors

What are your values in this life? Or better yet—how do you define your values?

If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s that we’re all different. Unfortunately, being different is often perceived negatively among peers, coworkers, family members, and even new acquaintances.

Some of us refuse to be anything but ourselves while others cave to the social norms that are more widely accepted. Of course, if you’re shrinking yourself to fit into a more “acceptable form” to fit in, you’re not being defined by your personal values. Instead, you’re being perceived as something you’re not, and therefore you’re being defined by external factors.

personal values vs external factors

It also means that you probably don’t have a strong sense of what your personal values are, leaving you susceptible to the negative influence of external factors.

If this sounds familiar, then it’s time to think about how you define your personal values—and how they define you.

Personal Values versus External Factors

From the moment we begin walking, talking, and forming memories, we become a product of the environment around us. Our parents teach us right from wrong, our siblings teach us how to interact with others, and our teachers educate us on the necessary subjects.

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However, all these people hold some sort of influence on us in terms of how we form opinions and even what we may like or dislike.

For example, if your father’s favorite activity is fishing, he’ll likely impress this pastime onto you. Or, if your parents are catholic, they’ll likely bring you to mass and make you attend Sunday school.

But do you actually like fishing? And do you believe in all the teachings of the Bible?

The point is, as we learn and grow, the one thing we’re not necessarily taught to do is to prioritize who we are and who we want to be. Depending on where we come from, our values and cultures differ. This can be incredibly limiting when it comes to figuring out who we want to be beyond the influences that raised us.

Moreover, if we allow ourselves to be defined by the wrong things, we end up stuck in one place. We allow external influences to control us, and we don’t grow as human beings. 

I know for me once I realised what was conditioning from upbringing and what true to who I wanted to be, life has become so much more enjoyable and freeing.

My 5 Best Tips on How to Find Passion

What Are External Factors?

External factors are a bit trickier to define as they can be quite deceptive in nature. For example, many people believe that your career is what defines you, therefore you are judged based upon what you do for a living.


However, your job is what you do—not who you are.


Additionally, what you do for money and what you are passionate about are often two separate things. If you’re lucky, it’s both. Unfortunately, many people place a higher value on money, which makes money another external factor that also dictates what we do in life.


See how it can be a bit tricky?


It’s simpler to think of external factors as superficial standards, to an extent. Sure, we all need money to survive, but that doesn’t mean we should place a higher value on fancy office jobs versus hospitality jobs. It also doesn’t mean we should judge others for the position they hold.


External factors come from placing value on the wrong things. Money and career choice are one example, but there are other external factors such as beauty, body type, clothing, nice homes, nice cars, social status, etc.


These are the material things in life that don’t actually matter, yet somehow, they are the external factors that have the greatest influence.


When we let these kinds of things define us, we become engulfed in an endless cycle of judgement, trying to be perceived as something we’re not and often judging others based on what they have or don’t have, and not for who they are.


Without even realizing it, these external factors make us miserable, and often cause us to act out of character. 

Why Your Personal Values Are So Important

Once you take the time to do some soul searching and define your values you’ll begin to realize what’s truly important to you. Those things will be reflected in the relationships you pursue and what you’ll tolerate from others.

Here are some other notable benefits of defining your personal values:

They Help You Find Your Purpose

How can you begin to know what you want out of life if you don’t even know what’s important to you? Most people tend to wander through life with no purpose, and it’s because they haven’t taken the time to figure out what’s truly important to them.

Of course, this is also because many people equate purpose with a monetary value and the possessions it can grant them, which is why they become stuck working jobs that make them miserable.  

 Having well-defined values can help you figure out your purpose in life simply by defining what you care about—no dollar sign necessary. It’s really that simple.

They Help You Navigate Difficult Situations

Your values are like a set of principles to live by. Therefore, they’ll guide your behavior towards what matches the type of person you want to be, which will help you decide what to do when a difficult situation arises. 

 When it comes to dealing with difficult situations, most people are quick to react, and usually not in a favorable way. Your values will help keep you grounded so that you’re able to take a moment to reflect before saying or doing something you’ll regret.

They Increase Your Confidence

When you define your values you invite stability and security into your life. This is because when you know what you want and what’s important to you, it doesn’t matter what’s important to other people—because you’re not easily influenced by them.

You also gain a more secure sense of self as you become stronger in your convictions and opinions. It won’t matter what others believe in when it comes to religion, politics, what people should do with their lives, etc., because you’ll already be comfortable in your own beliefs for your own reasons.

They Help You Make the Right Decisions

When you know who you are and what you care about in life, you’ll have a much easier time making huge life decisions.

Take your job, for example. If what you do for work goes against your personal values and beliefs, it’s likely you won’t stay with that company for very long. The same goes for the people in your life. If your friends or intimate relationships don’t reflect the things you value, it’s easier to make the call to end said relationships.

They Bring You Peace and Strength

Sometimes in life we have a hard time figuring out the difference between what we want and what we actually need. When you define your values, it’s much easier to clear the clutter and identify the things that are zapping your energy and wasting your time.

Ultimately, you’ll be able to let go of the things that no longer serve you, no matter how difficult it may seem, and you’ll be much happier overall.

So, What Are Your Values?

In essence, what you value is a reflection of the type of person you are. If you don’t define your values, you’ll never be able to live a full life because you won’t be aligned with mind, body, and soul.

And, you certainly won’t be able to stand on your own two feet as you’ll be allowing others to define you and control you by sheer influence.

Your personal values are so important because these are your goals and heart desires. So, take the time to answer the question: What are your values?—and stand by them! Before you go, I have 5 Sure-Fire Ways to Feel Worthy of Love.


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Hi! I'm Dr Jessica

I share my expertise as a Family Physician to provide you with the support and tools to a holistic lifestyle.

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