So often Values and Beliefs are used interchangeably, but what is the difference between the two and why should it matter?
First, let’s tease these two apart.
Interestingly the online Oxford dictionary defines values as “… what is important in life”.
They define beliefs as “an opinion about something; something that you think is true”.
I find that a bit vague, so let's untangle it a bit more so that they are easier to identify.
Values, in the context of core or individual values, tend to be aspects that are important in one’s life.
In knowing my core values I can recognize when something has come up in life that is rubbing these values the wrong way or when people try to manipulate me through knowing what my values are. This knowing has saved me from a lot of frustration and disappointment and has given me power over my reactions to others who knowingly or unknowingly try to hurt or manipulate me. Hence the reason I help all my clients in my coaching practice uncover and connect to their core values.
When looking at beliefs, I can tell you I have run the gambit concerning religion, but beliefs are not just about religion or faith. They can be beliefs about our capabilities or how things will always be. 10 years ago I would have laughed at you if you had told me I would have a private practice, and be posting regular blogs online, let alone my business website! I never would have believed I was capable of that. That was a limiting belief. One that stopped me from striving to reach beyond to check to see if it was possible or not. To bring this out in an even clearer illustration. In the late 1800’s cars only went 10-30 mph because it was believed that the human body would not be able to survive speeds faster than a horse. These beliefs have a purpose. They are there to keep us safe from the unknown. Thank goodness for the innovative ones who choose to test the boundaries, and in my case, to those who asked me the questions that helped me challenge my self-made limits.
So why does it matter to know the difference between values and beliefs? I liked this one quote from www.difference.guru “Beliefs are assumptions people hold as true and that are related to past learned experiences. Values can affect behavior and character, whereas beliefs can influence one's morals and values. Values apply and are directly related to everyday life, while beliefs are often rooted in faith and religion.” When we have a grasp on our beliefs and values and dive into why they are part of our life, we have more of an understanding of our lives and therefore more control in our lives. Not to say that this is an easy, Saturday afternoon project. It’s not. It means diving deep and challenging things that we may never have questioned before. The benefit of doing that though is to know yourself, be more in control of your reactions and allow you to make decisions easier because you know what you are basing your decisions from. It also gives you the courage to test your boundaries and potentially live a life you may have thought were only available to others.
If you are interested in investigating your values and beliefs, feel free to contact me. I would love to hear your thoughts and input on values and beliefs!