Personal values are a set of beliefs that determine our actions. They can be conscious or unconscious, and they are shaped in early childhood and then refined in the period of youth. Thus, it is clear that personal values are formed under the influence of upbringing, education and surroundings. Each person has individual values, but at the same time generations can have common values which differentiate them from one another. When watching my friends and relatives of different ages, I notice that they tend to have different values, although each of them is a personality with unique beliefs.
Thus, when talking to older people of my grandmother’s age, I realize that family values used to be more important than they are now. These people grew up being taught that family is a top priority, and they acquired that belief as a result. It is especially true for women who were traditionally in the role of the housewife. Even if they worked, they first of all had to care about home and family. In the course of time, with feminism influence on society, the role of women came to be reconsidered. Nowadays, women have a wider range of choice, and many of them make career their number one priority. Besides, older generations preferred to get married in their early twenties, which is rarely the case with today’s young people. It is hard to tell whether it is good or not to have family values as the most significant priority, but anyway they are worth thinking at, because humanity today is moving away from family values.
Secondly, I have noticed how living in a consumer society affects our values today. We are attached to our gadgets, we urge to by new products all the time. Possession becomes more important than communication, which is the worrying sign for us. Decades ago people had no mobile phones and no Internet, they preferred to meet personally. They were not so well off in terms of finance, but they did not need so much for being happy. Modern people are addicted to things and are never satisfied, so I believe that it will be wonderful to borrow some values that were important long time ago. We need to recollect that things do not make happy and that human communication is the greatest treasure.
At the same time, I believe that change of personal values can be positive too. For instance, society has made a significant progress regarding tolerance to people that are different. I believe that we have more respect to people of different race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Comparing myself to my grandparents, I can say that today’s young people are more open to the world; they feel that borders between countries are not as meaningful as they used to be. Today it is important to be flexible and accept innovations quickly, so this aspect is part of personal and social values today. In the times of our parents and especially grandparents, information could not be spread so freely between different places and countries, so cultural differences were more significant. Today, on the contrary, because of cultural interchange the differences get blurred, so culture becomes a less vital factor when shaping personal values.
Thus, based on the above said, it is clear that personal values are the result of social values, which affect their formation. Although individual values may differ, people, belonging to the same culture and the same generation, tend to share some of the personal values as well. Besides, such factors as family, education and surrounding affect the formation of personal values.