Our values are like beacons of light that guide our behavior. Individuals with strong values have many admirable traits. Their values give them confidence in making decisions. This confidence is attractive to others, partly because they seem to have what everyone else is missing--a reason behind their choices.
What is a Core Value?
A core value is a guiding principle or ideology that defines you. These values are different for each person and are uniquely affected by life experiences. Values are unflinching belief systems that do not change under duress, meaning that you will make consistent choices based on a particular belief whether there is an incentive for you or not.
Examples of Personal Core Values
Health and Fitness
Why it is Hard to Identify Core Values
Core values are not difficult to identify, but sometimes it feels that way because we struggle to put names on our emotions. Or, we have a difficult time identifying why we are feeling certain emotions. It takes some practice to recognize what and why we are feeling certain emotions. If you can understand your emotions, you can pinpoint your values.
Although it takes some work, it is important to identify your core values so that you seek out appropriate relationships and opportunities. These connections that are based on a shared belief system meet the basic human need for social connection and will help us live a more fulfilled, happy life. Misaligned relationships create inauthenticity and disconnect.
How to Identify Your Core Values (Guiding Questions)
If you need some help identifying your personal core values, here are some questions to reflect on which will help you self-identify your core values.
Who do you admire and why? Can you articulate that why into a single word?
The qualities that we value in other people are those that align with our core values. If you are drawn to people who seem courageous, generous, or who have a strong moral compass; these are indications that you value these traits in others and in yourself.
What makes you really angry?
When you read a story in the news or witness poor behavior and it makes you feel upset, anxious, or angry it is because the behavior went against a personal value. Start paying attention to how you react in certain situations and try to label the cause of the emotion with a value.
What makes you proud? What are the best moments of your life so far?
In contrast to identifying what makes you angry, also think about what makes you happy. What accomplishments have made you feel proud? The highs come from moments in time where your values elevated a situation to create a euphoric and memorable experience.
Related: What is Happy?
Identifying your core values is not a difficult task on its own. But many of us struggle with low emotional IQ or the ability to understand our emotions. Understanding our emotions is a necessary step to understanding our values. If you invest the time to identify your values, you can be more proactive in making aligned choices that lead to a happier, more fulfilled life experience.