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4 Benefits of Understanding your Core Values

decisionsCore values are concepts that fuel your decisions and motivation.

They are words like: health, freedom, security, love, relationships, trust, fun, adventure and so forth.

We turn these concepts into values when they are important enough to have a significant and consistent influence over our behaviors and decisions.

If you value health, then your actions will be aligned with preserving health. If you don’t value health that much, then your behaviors will be less likely to preserve it over time.

You can discover your core values by honestly answering the question, “What’s important to me in life?” Make a list, Then, examine your behaviors to determine if they support your values.

If your behaviors do not align with your values, then you are 1) living in conflict with your values or 2) fooling yourself about the proposed value.

Why discover and refine your knowledge of core values?

Here are four benefits.

1.  Decision-making becomes easier and more effective.

When you know your values, making clear decisions is more possible. Let’s say that you are offered a new job that pays more than your current job. Will you take it? You’re best off making the decision according to what you consider most important in life.

You’ll be making more money, which might support a value for financial success. However, you’ll be spending less time with your family, which goes against a value for relationships.

Which values is more important to you? Relationships or financial success? If you are really clear about this, the decision-making process will also be more clear.

2. Life gets much simpler.

Life can be complicated, but could be a little simpler if you really understand what’s most important to you.

Taking the job that pays more, but requires a sacrifice in relationships doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are sure that it violates a core value, then you can trust that you will not consider it to be worthwhile if you take it.

Knowing and trusting your values could save you years of headache, heartache and hassle.

3. Life is less stressful.

Go against core values causes inner conflict. Inner conflict is stressful. In fact, studies show that this kind of stress trumps other (more talked about) forms of stress. For example, a lot of us think that our busy schedules cause a lot of stress. They can, but not as stressful as the inner conflict that accompanies (which may be related to values).

“Beyond the number of activities actually competing for their time, emotional conflict between activities makes consumers feel that they have even less time,” suggests authors Jordan Etkin (Duke University), Ioannis Evangelidis (Erasmus University), and Jennifer Aaker (Stanford University). “Emotions such as guilt about where time is being spent or fear over loss of income both generate stress, and make a person feel more pressed for time than they actually are.”

4. Relationship compatibility is easier to spot.

A couple with very different core values is not a compatible couple.

She values holistic health. He values beer and pizza.

He values freedom more than security. She values security above all else.

She values high communication and emotional intimacy. He values his hobbies.

He values a lifetime of curiosity and learning. She values light-hearted gossip and friendships based on what’s happening with the latest celebrity gossip.

These are simplified examples, yet you can see that values have a lot to do with compatibility. If you are with someone who holds similar values, mutual decisions about how to spend your times and resources become a source of fulfillment, not fights.

This is one of the core elements of the Dating, Mating and Relating program, which seeks to align couple in four key areas.

Of course, we venture into self-sabotage when we violate our core values. Self-sabotage by violating core values may be the single most damaging act against ourselves.

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4 Benefits of Understanding your Core Values

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2015). 4 Benefits of Understanding your Core Values. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Apr 2015
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