The 21 Most Important Values ​​in Society and Their Meanings

Values ​​are important for a harmonious social coexistence. Without values ​​as a reference against our individual way of acting and towards others, human relationships are weakened by not harboring common criteria for life in society.

Let us remember that values ​​are patterns of behavior that guide social coexistence and that are interrelated, so that they cannot be put into practice in isolation.

These are, then, some of the most important values ​​in society.

1. Respect

Respect

Respect is the ability to recognize and value all people. Without respect for ourselves or for others, it is impossible to put into practice values ​​such as freedom, justice, honesty, empathy, solidarity, etc.

An example of respect is treating all people with kindness and courtesy, regardless of their social status, their way of thinking, etc.

See also: Respect and Respect defined in 15 sentences.

2. Integrity

Integrity is the ability to do the right thing in all situations. It is the implementation of honesty consistently. For this reason, a person can be honest at a specific moment, but it does not mean that he or she has integrity. On the other hand, for a person to have integrity, they need to be honest.

An example of integrity is refusing any opportunity to break the law, not just sporadically, but on every occasion that may arise.

See also Integrity.

3. Freedom

Freedom

Freedom implies acting according to our will. But exercising that value requires respecting the will of others, as well as the norms that govern the order of society. This is related to values ​​such as respect and justice. If a person limits the freedom of others, it would be disrespectful and unfair, in addition to expressing a lack of empathy.

An example of this value is freedom of expression, with which we can express our opinions. This is possible as long as we do not harm other people by lying about them or spreading false news.

See also Freedom.

4. Equality

Equality is recognizing that all people have the same rights and obligations before the law, without distinctions of any kind. This value is what allows any person to have access to justice and to be treated fairly.

An example of equality is the right of all people to have an identity.

See also Equality.

5. Justice

Justice

Justice is a value that seeks a balance between one’s own good and that of society. Consider individual freedom, equality and interdependence between people and institutions so that everyone gets what is due. To achieve this, it is necessary to comply with the rules established to guarantee respect, freedom, tolerance, equity and peace.

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An example of justice is that all the inhabitants of a country have access to education and health regardless of their origin or social status.

See also Justice.

6. Impartiality

Impartiality is the ability to pass judgment on a person or fact objectively, leaving aside our biases. This value is essential to apply justice, since it is not possible to be fair if we let ourselves be carried away by our beliefs, emotions or preconceived ideas.

An example of impartiality is that a judge has to judge his own son, applying the principles of the law above his paternal affection.

7. Truth

Truth is a value that becomes palpable when ideas, words or facts can be verified in reality. This means that they can be described as they are, truthfully and impartially. The truth, in turn, is the basis of honesty, since it is not possible to be honest if the truth is not told.

An example of truth as a value is when we tell a personal anecdote exactly as it happened, without exaggeration or lies.

See also Truth.

8. Tolerance

Tolerance

Tolerance is the value that grants respect, dignity and freedom to diversity. It implies living with beliefs that are different from our own, even if we do not agree with them. To be tolerant is to recognize the right of other people to be and express themselves, in the same way that we expect to be respected and tolerated for who we are.

An example of tolerance is accepting and respecting classmates or colleagues who have a different culture from ours.

See also Tolerance.

9. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand the needs and emotions of others even if we are not living their situation. Empathy is linked to kindness and solidarity, because they are the values ​​that allow us to act to help others when we understand what they are going through.

An example of empathy is when we understand the pain of someone who is grieving and we offer to support them in whatever they need.

See also Empathy.

10. Fairness

Equity

Equity is treating everyone equally, understanding the context and needs of each person so that there is fair treatment. Equity is a fundamental value to reinforce respect for the particularities of each individual and give a deeper meaning to justice as a fundamental right.

An example of equity is adapting public spaces so that people with disabilities can access them with the same comfort and safety as the rest.

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See also Equity.

11. Solidarity

Being supportive is helping others selflessly for the common good. Solidarity helps us maintain a sense of unity in a group, since when we all cooperate we contribute to generating an optimal environment for social coexistence.

An example of solidarity is collecting money to help a neighbor pay for a surgery.

See also: Solidarity and Examples of solidarity.

12. Beneficence

The value of beneficence is the ability to generate the greatest possible well-being in individuals. This value is one of the most important in the world of medicine, since the objective of health professionals must be to look after the good of the patient, above any professional interest.

An example of beneficence is that a doctor recommends to his patient a treatment that is appropriate to his budget, even though the doctor prefers another that is much more expensive.

You may be interested in reading more about Charity.

13. Peace

Peace

Peace is a value that seeks a harmonious social coexistence, through the implementation of other values ​​such as respect, justice, equity. It is an ideal whose goal is to prevent violence in society. For this reason, one of the highest aspirations of nations is to achieve peace for the benefit of their citizens and their institutions.

An example of peace in society is the peaceful coexistence between different communities (natives, immigrants, ethnic minorities, etc.)

See also Peace.

14. Love

Love

Love is one of the fundamental values ​​of society because it pushes us to ensure the happiness of the other. Social relationships are based on affectivity in interpersonal relationships that are expressed in the form of friendship or other types of ties.

An example is the love between parents and children, which is vital to cultivating emotionally healthy individuals for society.

See also Love.

15. Kindness

Kindness is the desire to do good and express it with concrete actions, beyond our personal interests. In general, kindness is exercised in favor of those who are in a position of vulnerability, which is why it is nourished by empathy and altruism.

An example of kindness is volunteering for organizations that help migrants.

See also Kindness.

16. Honesty

Honesty

Honesty is a social value that is expressed when we expose the truth. It is knowing what is right in a situation and acting accordingly, based on knowing the truth. Acting honestly implies being responsible and respectful with ourselves and with others.

An example of honesty is saying that we did not do a task. The correct thing would have been to do it, but although we do not fulfill our commitment we tell the truth.

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See also Honesty.

17. Confidence

Trust is the belief that people and institutions will act correctly in a given situation. When we have confidence in the other it is because we are taking their good faith and integrity for granted. Therefore, it is a value that promotes unity and social cohesion.

An example of trust is when we let our friends use our belongings, because we know they will use them properly and not take them.

18. Responsibility

Responsibility

Responsibility is assuming the consequences of our actions and fulfilling the commitments we make with ourselves and with others. Responsibility makes us aware of the implications of our decisions, which is why it also requires exercising freedom and integrity.

An example of responsibility is to fulfill our academic duties and assume the consequences that this may bring in case we do not do it, such as a bad grade.

You may be interested in reading more about Responsibility.

19. Altruism

Altruism consists in acting for the well-being of others without expecting retribution and considering the possibility of sacrificing one’s own well-being. This must be accompanied by concrete actions, since the intention to help or empathy alone are not enough to be altruistic.

An example of altruism is helping to pay for a student’s scholarship without resources, even if that means adjusting our budget.

You can learn more about Altruism.

20. Loyalty

Loyalty

Loyalty is a value that is expressed in the respect and fidelity we feel towards another person, group or institution. Being loyal implies committing to support the other in any situation, not just in good times.

An example of loyalty is supporting our favorite sports team even when it loses.

See also Loyalty.

21. Gratitude

Gratitude implies recognizing and valuing what we have, what we give and what we receive. It is a value that is nourished by respect and empathy, because it is only when we are able to appreciate ourselves and others that we are able to feel grateful.

An example of gratitude is when children value their parents’ effort to give them food, shelter and education.

You can learn more about Gratitude.

See also:

  • Values
  • Antivalues

Sources:

  • Tierno, Bernabé (1996): Human values. Volume 2. Workshop of Editors, SA Spain.
  • Arango Durling, Virginia (2007): Social peace and culture of peace. Panama Viejo Editions, Panama.
  • Martínez, Lupe (1993): The truth as an ethical value. Advances in Nursing, Vol XI, No 2. National University of Colombia.
  • Stiefksen Arboleda, Juan Pablo (2014): Altruism and solidarity in the Welfare State. Department of Sociology, Autonomous University of Barcelona. Spain.