Moral Principles And How They Impact Your Life
Updated January 02, 2019
Reviewer Avia James
Have you ever wondered why you make the decisions that you make? Or, have you ever wondered why you feel that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you do something you know you really shouldn't have done? The answer lies in your moral principles. Everyone has them, but they can vary greatly from one person to the other. If you haven't thought about them before, you should because they play a leading role in your life.
What Are The Are The Moral Principles?
Morals are the behaviors you consider right or wrong. The Free Dictionary website defines moral principles as, "the principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a social group." While each person may have a different interpretation of this concept, as a general rule, morals are what we use as a guide to our actions. There are some moral principles that most people agree on, and others that differ from group to group and person to person.
When You Don't Live By Your Moral Principles
It's very easy to make small compromises in your moral principles. We do this by justifying our actions. We do or say something that we know we don't agree with, but we find a way to explain it away to ourselves in a way that makes it sound like it's not bad. The problem with doing this is that deep inside, we know that we have crossed a line of our moral principles. Even if we don't admit it at the moment, we still know that it's happened.
Making small compromises on your morals makes it easier to make larger compromises as well. Before you know it, you are making all kinds of decisions and acting in ways that you would never have imagined you would, because you knew it was wrong.
When you live like this, you also begin to deal with things like guilt and shame. You know that you don't agree with the behavior you are engaging in, which causes you to feel guilty. This also leads to feeling ashamed of that behavior because you know deep down that it is wrong, even if you have tried to justify it.
Sticking to our moral principles in life helps us to live a life that we can be happy about and one that we are proud to live. Here are some examples of moral principles and how they impact your life.
Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated
This is a moral principle that many people are taught in childhood. Parents are constantly using this example to teach their children how to interact with their siblings. However, it also applies to kids that they engage with at school, their co-workers later on, and every person that may come their way. The idea behind this principle is that we want to be treated well and with respect. Therefore, if we keep this principle in mind, we may treat others the same way we would like to be treated.
When you live by this moral principle, you take the time to have empathy for another person and try to see things through their eyes. You would think about the situation that 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 were to live by this rule, crime and bullying would be diminished or eradicated altogether.
When you treat other people well, you are likely to be treated well in return. It's a win-win situation the majority of the time. And, if they don't choose to treat you well, you'll still be happier, because you know that you have acted in a way that was compatible with your morals and values.
Speak The Truth / Do Not Lie
This is a moral principle that is important to everyone. Every person wants people to be honest with them. They want to know that they are not being lied to and that they can trust the person who's talking to them. In some cases, however, people may justify not being honest by providing reasons that make sense to them. They may say things like "white lie" or "doing it for their good", in order to support their decision to tell a lie and reconcile the act of violating this moral.
When you're honest with other people, they will know that they can trust you, which may help establish better relationships, going forward. However, if you are not honest with other people, they will not want to continue being a relationship with you. And if they continue to maintain a relationship with you, they will have a very hard time trusting you.
Don't Spend What You Don't Have
Some people believe that being in debt is wrong. Others think it's not wrong but believe that it has adverse impact on one's life. These people believe that it is very important to be a good steward of what you are given. Stewardship means that you handle your finances responsibly, including not spending money that you don't have.
Keep Your Word
This one goes along with being honest and not telling lies, but is worth to mention separately. Throughout history, it was important that people kept their word. If you didn't keep your word, you were likely to be shot. That's how important it was to be a man or a woman of your word. However, we have gotten very far away from that in society now.
People are constantly saying things that they don't intend to follow through on. This is why in legal contracts, we have to specifically spell out what the ramifications are if one party or the other doesn't follow through. Some people are so used to going back on their word now that they don't even think twice about it. This is why we have things like house foreclosures, cars being repossessed, and high divorce rates.
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 leads to better personal relationships, career advancements, and a better life in general.
Don't Take What Doesn't Belong To You / Don't Steal
Most people would agree that you should not steal, and you shouldn't take something that doesn't belong to you. However, many people make small compromises on a regular basis that don't line up with this principle.
For example, if you are an hourly employee and you are on the clock, that time belongs to your company. That means, that if it's not part of your job, the following activities can be considered stealing time from your company:
- Spending time on social media
- Making a personal phone call
- Talking with coworkers instead of working
Your company is paying you in exchange for the work you are doing. So, when you use company time for personal tasks, you are taking that money but not giving in return, as agreed upon on your hiring contract. So, this example is technically breaking a couple of the moral principles that we have discussed in this article, including not keeping your word and taking what doesn't belong to you.
Are You Living Your Moral Principles?
If you're not living based on the moral principles that you believe in, consider taking steps to correct it. You are not living your best life if you are going against the morals that you believe in. It's important that you align your life, your actions, and your words with your moral principles. When you do this, things in your life will start to fall into place. You will experience more happiness because you are staying true to yourself.
Problem is, that while we may be quick to spot out other peoples' flaws and areas of conflict, when it comes to our own lives, it's a bit more challenging to identify areas of contention, for which making changes can be rather obscure.
Need A Hand?
If you are struggling with identifying the moral principles that matter to you, living them out in your own life, or correcting where they have gone wrong in the past, talking to a licensed therapist can help you get on the right path. A mental health professional can give you an unbiased opinion and advice, and help you achieve your goals and live a life that is more in line with your moral principles.
That's why a third-party person who is trained and experienced in having these conversations can help. They will help you see what's important to you and guide you down the right path. The professional and licensed therapist at BetterHelp can help you experience the changes you are looking for in life. If things seem to keep going wrong in your life, it could be that you aren't living true to your moral principles. Find a BetterHelp therapist today to begin finding the right solution.