Personal Reflection on Ethics and Values

Published: 2021-07-26
1692 words
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Vanderbilt University
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Research paper
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Ethical beliefs are specific to every individual whereby people hold different beliefs and values. These values are shaped by our life experiences, and most at times, bring a reflection of our upbringing. My ethical values are guided by my religious orientation, which enables me to base my beliefs in happiness. I am of the idea that happiness is an instrumental virtue in life and is what everyone seeks. Having internalized this in my ethics, I, therefore, carry myself in a way that makes me and the people around me happy.

My ethical beliefs are founded on the idea that doing the right thing would result in common happiness. I am more inclined towards the utilitarian theory of ethics which state that actions are right if they are for the benefit of the majority (Banks, 2012). This has been brought about by my life experiences whereby most of the undesirable actions have been observed to hurt the people around me. However, actions and behaviors that I felt were right appeared to benefit everyone around me. With time, I learned that it is wrong to do anything that would harm my [parents, peers, teachers and any other persons that I associated with. My ethical perspective has therefore been centered on doing what is right for me and whoever will be affected by that action. This ethical perspective has always reminded me to maximize utility in every of my actions and behaviors. The utility is maximized in one's actions by considering the well-being of all the parties and stakeholders affected by a certain action or decision (Martin, 2011). I have always tried my best to look into both the negative and positive sides before arriving at a decision or action. Bearing in mind that no party should experience a negative effect from any of my actions have pushed me into limiting, if not eliminating any negative impact associated with my behavior towards others while trying to maximize the desirable across all the entities.

Within my behavior and personality is thinking and consideration of all people being equal, and expecting to be treated in a fair and humane way. I have always understood the expectations of other people through my own expectations and feelings. I, therefore, hold that whatever I expect from other peoples behavior is what they expect from me. Having held such thinking through a greater part of my life, I have come to realize that happiness is the only good in life. I have carried this ethical take throughout all my quests in life and it has given me utmost efficiency in my undertakings. In school, I could consider my classmates, teachers, and parents as my immediate entities and worked to keep them happy (Banks, 2012). The result of that would be a general success. I still do the same thing today, whereby I do not only consider my own benefit but that of other people affected by my actions.

The reason for adopting the utilitarian perspective of ethics is because of my belief that happiness is the greatest thing in life. As much as we should all be happy, is a cliche, there is an eternal truth in it. Throughout my life, I have been trained and conditioned to understand that everyone needs happiness more than they need anything else. The manner in which I conduct myself currently is as a result of the way my early life was. My childhood environment is what can be majorly attributed to as the reason for the way I behave in my adulthood. I was brought in the religious family whereby selfish actions were greatly discouraged. My parents always taught me to treat other people in a way that I would expect them to treat me. However, it is common for everyone to expect to be treated in a way that would make them happy, and I ultimately knew that happiness is a virtue we give and expect.

The reason for having been taught to work in ways that promoted general good and happiness is because my parents and my teachers believed that God expected human beings to coexist happily in the world. With that regard, I was taught to work and behave in a way that delights not only me and my social circle but also God. To date, I believe that I have a responsibility to carry myself in a way that leaves no one hurting. The other reason for being taught to live according to the utilitarian ethical understanding is because the people responsible for shaping my behavior thought it would me help lead a life without many disagreements with other people. It is agreed upon by everyone that upholding universal happiness in ones actions limits the chances of disagreements (Canda, & Furman, 2010). If everyone considered universal happiness in whatever they do, there would be very few to no quarrels and disagreements in the world. My parents and teachers had this idea in mind when they installed such a big urge to care about happiness within me.

Personal beliefs and ethics are influenced a great by culture and the history of the community in which one is brought up in. My communitys culture holds that people should respect and care about each other. In this regard, members of this culture are called upon to consider their neighbors and other members of the community in the undertakings and behaviors. There is a sense of socialism in my culture, whereby it everyones role to protect happiness, as it viewed as being the core promoter of peace. The role of culture in my personality has been to instill a sense of selflessness. The influence of my communitys culture is further witnessed in my education and upbringing. Both my parents and teachers are products of this culture, whereby mutual happiness is held in high esteem. The history of this community is what has shaped it into acknowledging the need to have mutual happiness as a priority. This aspect is reflected in all systems and sectors within my culture. Employees and the managerial circles within my communitys organizations have been trying, against capitalistic principles, to embrace this ethical perspective. It has, however, worked and proved to be better than other ethical approaches that dont consider general happiness and satisfaction.

Another role of culture and history in shaping my personality and gearing me towards the adoption of a utilitarian ethical approach is grounded to the point whereby I have seen other people trying to consider only themselves in decision-making and behavior, but the result was not pleasing, not even to them. Such people prioritize their own pursuits without having to consider what others would feel about it. An example of which is a scenario whereby an individual pushes to get whatever they need in life without ever considering the implication of it. In such cases, there have been fights and quarrels, and some parties are usually left hurting and inconvenienced. It is then that I concurred with my societys culture on the promotion of a utilitarian kind of life, where everyone is to consider the impact of their behaviors and actions on all the entities. It is through such observations in life that I have come to believe that my personality is not changing and although it doesnt work so well with the excessive capitalization happening around the world, I will still stick to it.

I can describe the person I am right now by saying that I am an individual whose concerns go beyond personal interests. I understand that every action affects people, and I try to protect those people. This appears to limit my success in the competitive world, but again, I have a different explanation and definition of success. I always think that success is not being on top of everyone, but it is about guaranteeing everyones happiness. I have experienced changes as I grew up, and I realized that there are times when I have to adjust my ethical take. There are situations whereby completion is accepted and taken positively, and regardless of who wins and who loses, all the parties are eventually satisfied with the result. Despite these changes, I am still concerned with happiness. In my career-choosing endeavors, I went for the career that I am much comfortable and happy being in, rather than the one that would earn me more money. It is during this time of career choice that I learned that I have to disappoint some of the people around. This came about because of the fact that I cannot do as they want. Happiness is my greatest pursuit and when it is matters pertaining to me, I would want others to live by my decisions.

I will still consider happiness as my greatest pursuit in future. The utilitarian perspective of ethics will still be guiding principle. However, I anticipate that I will spend most of my future time in a corporate environment, where most of the decisions will have to consider the success of the organization. My personality will stand, but some alterations will be inevitable.

In conclusion, I can state that my ethical approaches do not change with time, but they only adapt to the changing social environments and needs within life. As a kid, I took whatever I was taught directly, and did not consider how lack of ethical dynamism affected my development negatively. To be able to lead a total utilitarian life, one must sacrifice some success. A total utilitarian ethical perspective means avoiding the best behavior or action in the quest to maintain a state of happiness for all the stakeholders or affected parties. Despite the ethical adaptations that have been witnessed in my life and those that are yet to be experienced in future, I will remain to be the same person ethically. I will always take utilitarianism as my ethical perspective throughout my decision making and interaction endeavors.


Banks, S. (2012). Ethics and values in social work. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Canda, E. & Furman, L. (2010). Spiritual diversity in social work practice: the heart of helping. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press.

Martin, G. (2011). Human values and ethics in the workplace. Cherrybrook, N.S.W: Glenn Martin.

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