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Discover Your Core Values

According to Psychologist Barb Markway and Celia Ampel, values are the principles that give our lives meaning and allow us to persevere through adversity. Compassion International defined it as a principle or standard about what is important in one’s life.

Our values are developed over time through our environment. Our first influencer is our family. Some of our values can be developed as well through the influence of our school, religious leaders, friends, media, community and culture.


Core values are values that we put utmost importance in our lives. These values are non-negotiable to us. Knowing our core values can help us understand the way we respond and as well increase our awareness to identify core values that are not beneficial to us and replace them with something that can highly benefit us and others.

Your core values are the deeply held beliefs that authentically describe your soul. John Maxwell

Gallup and PositivePsychology.com came up with some values that we can refer to identify our core values (non-negotiable) and our negotiable values. Negotiable values are values that are good to have, but we can compromise. Note that we can add more from this list based on our understanding of ourselves.

Acceptance

Achievement

Advancement & Promotion

Adventure

Aesthetics

Affection

Altruism

Ancestry

Arts

Autonomy

Awareness

Beauty

Challenge

Change

Community

Compassion

Competence/Skills

Competition

Completion

Connectedness

Cooperation

Collaboration

Country

Creativity

Decisiveness

Democracy

Design

Dignity

Discovery

Diversity

Environmental Awareness

Economic Security

Education

Effectiveness

Efficiency

Elegance

Emotional Wellbeing

Entertainment

Enlightenment

Equality

Ethics

Excellence

Excitement

Experiment

Expertise

Fairness

Fame

Family

Fast Pace

Freedom

Friendship

Fun

Grace

Growth

Happiness

Harmony

Health

Helping Others

Helping Society

Honesty

Honor

Humor

Humility

Imagination

Improvement

Independence

Influencing/Control

Inner Harmony

Inspiration

Integrity

Intellect

Involvement

Justice

Knowledge

Leadership

Learning

Love

Loyalty

Magnificence

Making a Difference

Mastery

Meaningful Work

Ministering

Money

Morality

Mystery

Nature

Openness

Originality

Order

Passion

Peace

Personal Development

Personal Expression

Physical Appearance

Planning

Play

Pleasure

Power

Privacy

Purity

Quality

Radiance

Recognition

Relationships

Religion

Reputation

Responsibility & Accountability

Risk

Safety & Security

Self-Respect

Sensibility

Sensuality

Serenity

Service

Sexuality

Sophistication

Spark

Speculation

Spirituality

Stability

Status

Success

Teaching

Tenderness

Thrill

Unity

Variety

Wealth

Winning

Wisdom

But how are you going to identify your core values? Here are some steps to get your started.


Start with yourself


Reflect on yourself. Given the list above, what do you think are the values that are non-negotiable to you (your core values)? What do you think are the values that are negotiable to you? Be honest. Note that you can add other values that are not in the list.


Your Purpose


To guide you throughout this journey, reflect about yourself on these two questions:

What's important to you in your life?

What is your life purpose?


Your time and habits


You spend time for the things you value.


What are the things/activities you spend a lot of your time?

What are your habits?

What do you enjoy doing?

When do you feel satisfied and fulfilled?


What are the values do you think showed up from these activities? Going back to your list and mark those values that resonate to you.


Your family culture


Your family has great impact to your values.


What is your family culture?

What do you think your family values?

What are the things or activities that your family spend the most?

How does your family relate with other people?


And other questions that you can think can extract more of your family values. Go back to your list and mark the values that you acquire from your family.


Your communities


The communities you belong to – religious community, school, company, neighborhood, friends and social interactions – can contribute to your values.

Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Proverbs 13:20

What are the values of the communities you belong to?

What community activities are you drawn to?

What community activities do you enjoy the most?

What community activities are you willing to initiate?

Who are your circle of friends? What activities do you enjoy together?

Who are your circle of influence? How do they influence you or how do you influence them?


Based on these values, go back to your list and mark the values that you think your communities influenced you.


Media


Media – newspaper, TV, music, social media, streaming platforms – can also influence your values.


What type of media are you drawn to?

What are the things that you are watching, listening and/or enjoying to?


Assess yourself on how these contribute to your values. Again, go back to your list and mark those values that resonate to you.


Your life-changing experiences


Your experiences can impact your values as well. Traumas, accidents, unpleasant experiences can change the things you value. For example, some people don’t value their health but when they get sick, they started to realize to value their health over other things. Some people don’t value their family, but when a family member died, they will realize that their family is the most important part of their lives.


What are the experiences that you have that influence your values?

What are the values you learned from these experiences that you are carrying until now?


Go back to your list and mark those values.


Rank your core values

With new discoveries that you have about your values, reassess yourself and regroup your list – your core values, then your negotiable values.


After that, focus on your core values, rank them based on what you put more importance to. You can consider the following guidelines:


1. Weigh your core values with each other.

Get two core values from your list. Which of these two are you going to value more than the other? Then get one more and compare until you complete all of your core values.


2. Think of situations where your core values clashes.


If you are facing a situation where you are given options – which of these options would you choose? What do you think is the value that you have that resulted to this decision? Which of these values you put more weight compared to other?



That’s it! Don’t be ashamed or worry if your core values are not what you think acceptable to others. This exercise’s goal is to help you to gain awareness of yourself through your values.


Values can change. Intentionally knowing your core values is the first step for your personal development. You will know more on my next blog! See you!

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