Moral Principles And How They Impact Your Life

By Ashley Brown|Updated April 18, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Avia James, LPC

Have you ever asked yourself why you make the decisions you do? If you have ever wondered why you get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you do something you know you shouldn’t, it is likely because of your moral principles. Everyone has these principles, but they can vary greatly from one person to another. It can be helpful to explore your moral principles, as they determine many aspects of your life.

The Free Dictionary defines moral principles as “the principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a social group.” As a general rule, morals are what we use to guide our actions. There are some moral principles that most people agree on and others that differ from group to group and person to person. Many people can follow moral principles by following laws.

When You Don’t Live By Your Moral Principles

It is easy to make small compromises in our moral principles. We do this by rationalizing our actions. We do or say something that we know we don’t think is right, but we find a way to explain this action or statement to ourselves that makes it sound like it’s okay. However, deep inside, we know we have crossed a line and violated our moral principles. Compromising your morals in even a small way makes it easier to make larger compromises as well. Before you know it, you may be making poor decisions and acting in ways that you would never have imagined you could.

When you act or speak against your morals, you begin to experience guilt and shame. You feel guilty about your actions, which can cause you to feel ashamed of yourself. Sticking to your moral principles helps you live a life you are proud of, which is associated with greater happiness. Here are some examples of moral principles and how they may impact your life.

Want To Learn How To Make Better Decisions Based On Morals?

  • Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated. When you live by this moral principle, you take the time to empathize with others and try to see things through their eyes. You think about the situation they are in instead of just your own, and consider what you would want someone to do for you if you were in that situation. If everyone lived by this rule, it’s possible that crime and bullying could be greatly diminished. When you treat other people well, you are likely to be treated well in return.
  • Speak The Truth/Do Not Lie. We all want people to be honest with us. We want to know that we are not being lied to and that we can trust people. In some cases, however, people may justify not being honest by providing reasons that sound good in the moment but violate their own morals. They may use phrases like “white lie” or “doing it for their good” to support their decision. When you’re honest with other people, they will know that they can trust you, which helps establish better relationships.
  • Don’t Spend What You Don’t Have. Some people believe that being in debt is wrong. Others do not believe that overspending is inherently wrong, but they recognize that it has an adverse effect on their life. It is important to be a good steward of what you are given. Stewardship means that you handle your finances responsibly, which includes not spending money you don’t have.
  • Keep Your Word. This moral principle is similar to being honest and not telling lies, but it is worth mentioning separately. If you don’t keep your word (or promise), not only does your reputation typically suffer, but you could be harmed in retaliation. If you follow through on the things that you say you’re going to do, people will trust you more. You will also trust yourself more. This often leads to better personal relationships, career advancements, and a better life in general.
  • Don’t Take What Doesn’t Belong To You. Most people would agree that you should not steal. However, many people make small compromises on a regular basis that don’t line up with this principle.

Are You Living Your Moral Principles?

If you’re not living in accord with the moral principles you believe in, consider taking steps to correct this. You are not living your best life if you violate your own morals. It’s important that you align your actions and words with your moral principles. When you do this,the pieces of your life tend to fall into place. You will experience more happiness because you are staying true to yourself.

How Can I Live More Morally?

It can be hard to realign yourself when you let your moral principles slip. However, this doesn’t have to be a permanent condition, as you can always alter your behaviors.

One way to change behavior is to set goals. Consider writing down how you want to live in a book, including goals toward achieving this life. This will help you hold yourself accountable for your own set of rules and standards.

Perhaps the most important way to live morally is to trust your instincts or what you feel deep down is right. You can’t always explain what causes you to feel a certain way, but in many cases, you can tell if something feels wrong. Be sure to avoid taking actions that make you feel uneasy.

Following the tips above can help keep you on the right path morally. However, if you still feel like you are missing the mark, it may be time to speak with a qualified counselor.

BetterHelp Can Help With Your Moral Principles

If you are struggling to identify the moral principles that matter to you, how to live them out in your life, or where to correct a past misstep, talking to a licensed therapist can help. A mental health professional can offer an unbiased opinion and guide you toward achieving your goals and living a life in accord with your moral principles.

You might consider trying online therapy. Research showsthat electronically delivered therapy is as effective as traditional face-to-face counseling, which makes it an incredibly convenient option. This study, conducted by Brigham Young University researchers, found that technology-based therapy provides other added benefits too, including, “lower cost, no travel time, easy access, no waitlists, and trackable progress.”

Want To Learn How To Make Better Decisions Based On Morals?

If these perks are attractive to you, consider choosing an online therapy solution such as BetterHelp. The professional, licensed therapist at BetterHelp can provide ongoing daily support via email, chat, or video conferencing, which means you can select the best format for you. The site also offers numerous sources of helpful information about common mental illness disorders and articles discussing how to cope with stress, difficult people, and challenging situations. Here’s a look at what others had to say about the assistance they received from the counselors at BetterHelp.

Counselor Reviews

“I’ve been working with Alicia for about 7 months now, and I can’t recommend her enough. She is unbelievably smart and yet filled with warmth, she’s non-judgmental but still able to see negative patterns, she gives solid frameworks and solutions when I need them, and is a listening ear when I need that. Alicia doesn’t just deal with the subject matter at hand, she remembers things I’ve told her weeks prior, small names or details or passing comments, and points out patterns I hadn’t noticed, helping me re-frame my own thoughts and behaviors, all while showing how much she’s really listening and paying attention. It makes me feel like I’m talking to a friend. One personal example of her intuitive spirit is what she said to me in my very first session with her which has stuck with me since that day. I had shared how “broken” I felt after my last couple roles in rather toxic work environments. And after sharing why I had left those companies, mostly dealing with bosses/ colleagues who were bullies, dishonest and manipulative people who did a lot of damage, Alicia pointed out that I am not, in fact, broken, as the reason I left those companies was always the same – my deep rooted values of kindness and honesty would not allow me to be in that environment any longer, that my sense of self from a moral perspective had remained the same when many people bend their morals to succeed in stressful work situations. This reframing of the narrative I had been telling myself from the moment I quit changed everything for me, and she had known me for 45 minutes. For anyone on the fence about therapy and its benefits, Alicia is the empathetic soul we all need in our lives.”

“Oliver has helped me in many ways despite our relatively short time working together. He’s helped me gain a better outlook on the world, and he has helped me install some new philosophies and principles that I’ve found to be very useful in my day to day life and coping with everyday stress, as well as helping me and guiding me through some tough personal decisions, and working on myself and my behaviour.”


When your moral compass is off, you may need help figuring out your moral principles and how to live by them without bending the rules. When it comes to understanding what morals are, how they work, and how to incorporate them into your life, turning to a helping professional can make a difference.

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