Stay True To Yourself: You’ve Got This!
By Toni Hoy
Updated December 10, 2018
Reviewer Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
Every one of us has core values or inner beliefs that we refuse to compromise no matter what. Many people don't discover their core values until someone challenges their belief system. How you respond when the rubber meets the road is the best indication of whether you stay true to yourself.
Staying true to yourself means that you act in harmony with who you are and what you believe.
How to Identify Your Core Values
Think through what you believe to be your core values and jot them down. Good friends may see things that you don't, so ask a friend to help.
Brainstorm about the values that you held tightly to during the most important events in your life, for example, when someone you loved passed away; when you achieved a major goal; when you dared to go against the crowd. Think about any times that you felt guilty because you trusted others more than yourself.
Maybe a few words on this list of over 200 personal values will help.
Group your values into themes. For example, group terms like honesty, genuine, and truthfulness together. Come up with one word in each group that most closely represents what you believe. Try to narrow down the choices to less than ten words.
Testing Your Core Values: Do You Stay True to Yourself?
Keep your list handy in a place where you can access your list. Review your values every day for a while, and tweak it as necessary.
The best times to test your core values are when you have hard decisions to make or when you feel uncomfortable about something. For example:
Your friends are going to a party where it's bound to get wilder than you are comfortable with. Do your core values support going or making other plans?
Your co-workers are gossiping about how hot the new boss is. Do your core values suggest that you should join in or smile and walk away?
One of the most difficult decisions that people make is ending a toxic relationship with someone they care about. Having a good understanding of your core values should give you some clues on how to approach the situation. If you choose to end the relationship, you won't feel guilty about it, because you feel great about sticking to your core values.
It helps to get counseling from the experts at BetterHelp.com for tough decisions like this.
Staying True to Yourself When You Can't Act on Your Truth
We'd all feel great if we could stick to our core values every day, but the fact is that sometimes it's just impossible, or at least not in the best interests.
Perhaps you dislike some of your in-laws, and you simply tolerate family gatherings. Honesty is one of your values, but being candid about this fact will only hurt your spouse and family. For the sake of keeping peace with your spouse, it's best to go anyway. It may be okay to admit this fact to your spouse, but if you can't, at least admit it to yourself. You can always shorten your visits.
The Benefits of Standing on Your Truth
Knowing and following your core values will help you to be your genuine self. It gives you the freedom to follow your own values' system without giving in to pressure from others. Following your core values makes you happy because you can let go of the inner conflict that leads you to a decision that makes you feel guilty.