By Fariha Newaz, LCPC
Welcome back to part 2 of the Identity Series. I am excited to continue to explore who you are. I am sure you all sat down and thought about the parts of your identity! Today we will delve a little deeper into what makes up our identity. We are going to explore our values. We will define values as the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. So essentially, what do we find important.
How do we come up with our value systems? These come from many different areas of our lives and our beginning set of values come from our families. If you family is religious and they value going to church, then you also probably grew up doing that as well. As we get older our value systems change based on being able to think about what we find important. Some of these things also can stay the same, it just depends on the person. I’ll use religion again, a lot of people have grown up in religious families but as they get older they might not be as religious or not at all as they form their own opinions and complete their own research. Think about the things that you thought were important when you were 5, 10 and 20 and so forth. The things that you feel are important changes as you get older. So your values change over time. Because our values change over time, it also changes our identities.
Our values are more than just religious beliefs or culture. It also comes into play when we think about the kind of people we want to be. For example, some of the things that I value are being a good friend, honesty, loyalty, being kind, and being a good listener. Because I value these things, I strive to grow in these areas. Sometimes I have to assess if I am upholding these values at different times in my life. If I want to be a good listener, maybe that means I have to work a little more in that area in my relationships. Someone who struggles with an addiction might have to remind themselves the value if sobriety.
Our values continually impact our identity. Values help us navigate the world and find more people who also value the same things. As we move through life, we find people that have the same values, whether its religion, culture, hobbies, political affiliations, etc . We tend to be drawn to people who share similar values. When we find ourselves on opposing views with people, its most likely because our value systems are different.
How are our values connected to our identity? Depending on what we value it helps us make our decisions. We will talk some more in the last part of the Identity Series next time. Pro-tip: Write down some of the things that you value lets see how it shapes into our identity. I bet you have a lot of people in your life that probably value you the same things! See you next time!
About the Author
Fariha Newaz, LCPC, CADC is a therapist at our Edison Park location. Fariha works with adolescents, young adults, adults, and couples. Fariha’s specialties include depression, anxiety, substance use, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, multicultural concerns, and South Asians specific concerns. If you are interested in working with Fariha, send an email today!