Discover Your Core Values

Updated: Jan 26

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 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.

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


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!

#corevalues #selfawareness

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