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  • Writer's picturegaelle Chatenet

"Discovering Your Core Values: The Key to Transforming Your Life"

List of Core values

Have you ever heard about core values? They are the values that are dearest to you. What you hold most important of all in your life. Some examples are loyalty, faith, accountability, love, kindness, adventure, effectiveness, etc...

Many people never stop to think about what their core values are, just because we have not been taught to do so and we generally think we have a vague idea of what matters for us, we all know good from bad, right from wrong. We know what we like and dislike, what makes us happy or sad, but it rarely goes deeper. Why is it so important to know your core values and how do you determine what they are?

" To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom" Socrates.

Your core values are your fundamental beliefs. They help define your identity, your behavior and your goals. When we identify our values, we find what drives us, what motivates us, what makes us feel alive. We can also understand our own reactions to any given situation better, whether good or bad. If kindness is one of your core values, being kind will make you feel good about yourself and seeing kindness around you will give you a warm feeling. If courage is one of your core values, not being able to face a difficult situation because of fear will make you feel worse than someone who values courage a little less. When we are not aware of our values, we cannot identify the ones that have been overseen in a certain situation and thus might fail to understand our own reactions, bringing down guilt, shame and a general sense of worthlessness. Knowing and recognizing which value has been wronged in any given situation can help you, not only correct the behavior but also be easier on yourself and trust that the situation won't repeat itself. Knowing what your values are and going along with them will help you feel better about yourself and make your daily life more enjoyable.

Decision making

When faced with a difficult decision, even when the choices and field of action are limited, knowing your values will help you make the better choice. The one that will leave you with a sense of fairness and having done your best. Once you know your values you can ask yourself: which option will enable me to fulfill one or more of my values? Or, in the worst-case scenario: which option does not go against my values. For example: a person whose friend was getting divorced was asked to falsely testify against the friend's spouse. For this person, loyalty, honesty and friendship were all high values. When asking herself what to do we went through these and found that honesty was the highest value and that lying, even for a friend, would have put her in a situation that would have made her deeply ashamed and uncomfortable. This person was then able to explain that while she loved her friend deeply and was there to offer support in other ways, she was not ready to lie. This put her back in congruence with herself and her values and gave her space to think of other ways she could support her friend while still maintaining self-respect. Decision-making is always a complex process but once you are aware of your personal values there is much less room for error and more chances of making a choice that will satisfy you.

Core values serve as a compass, guiding your decisions and actions. When faced with difficult choices, knowing your values helps you align your actions with what truly matters to you.


Knowing your values is also important if you want to increase your self-confidence: do you ever find yourself going over a past conversation or situation in your head and wishing you had acted/responded differently? This kind of rumination usually arises when you act against your own values. Once you become aware of what you value the most it becomes easier to act in congruence. In any given situation you will be able to reflect on what behavior goes along and honors your personal values and the best part is, every time you act according to your values your self-esteem will increase. Increased self-esteem is the key to increased self-confidence. Self-esteem is when you firmly believe you are a good and worthy person, and you'll have plenty of proofs and examples supporting this when your behaviors and actions align with your values. Once this belief is firmly anchored, self-confidence will come naturally.

Clarity and focus

Identifying your core values brings clarity to your life. Once you are aware of what really matters to you, you are able to prioritize your time, energy, and resources on things that are most meaningful to you, reducing distractions and increasing focus. Life is not always doing the things we want to do, but once we are clear on what really matters to us, we can look for ways to make more time for it and reduce time or energy spent on tasks or relationships that drain more than they sustain.

Overall well-being

Finally, being fully conscious of your core values will promote a general sense of well-being. Relieving the stress of decision-making, increasing self-confidence and just giving you an inner sense of balance and self-acceptance. Living in alignment with your core values allows you to be true to yourself. It fosters authenticity and self-expression, leading to greater confidence, self-awareness, and overall well-being.

How to determine your values?

Reflect on Past Experiences: Think about moments in your life when you felt most fulfilled, proud, or content. These feelings typically arise when you are acting in congruence with yourself. What values were present during those times? Try going back fully into the situation and feel the way you felt at that time: did you feel in harmony, kind, courageous, efficient.... Conversely, recall times when you felt uncomfortable or conflicted. What values were being compromised? Which important beliefs were you going against?

Identify What Matters Most: You can find an exhaustive list of all values or just go with what you have felt in your past experiences and select the values that resonate with you. This could include qualities like integrity, compassion, creativity, or perseverance. Narrow down your list to the values that feel the most essential and deeply meaningful to you. Ideally about 5 main values. if you have more, try classifying them in groups and rename each group with a new value so that you have about 5.

Prioritize Your Values: Rank your values in order of importance. This order might vary depending on the situation so you can look at them from different areas of your life. For instance, the value that you want to prioritize the most in a family setting may not be the same you want to prioritize in a work setting. Also, think about having to choose between two values at one point, which one would you want to take precedence? Consider which values you're unwilling to compromise on, even in challenging situations.

Test Your Values: Take a look at your current situation, behaviors, choices and goals and see how well they aligns with your values. Are there discrepancies that you can solve, and correct? Adjust as needed to ensure consistency and alignment.

Revisit and Revise: Your core values may evolve over time as you gain new experiences and insights. Periodically revisit and revise your list of core values to ensure they continue to reflect who you are and what you hold dear.

By taking the time to identify and honor your core values, you can live a more purposeful and authentic life, grounded in what truly matters to you.

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