How To Identify Your Core Values and Live By Them

identify your core values

What positive emotions are you feeling? What needs are being satisfied when you go against your values?

Do you feel excited? Safe? Loved?

Now, ask yourself how else you could get these needs met? What might be healthier ways?

For example, the man who cheats on his wife could tell her that he really needs to feel attractive to her. So he suggests that they start sending each other sexy text messages and requests that she refrain from chatting with other men on social media.

The woman who feels insecure in her job could take some online courses to make herself more valuable to the company, or she could start researching new jobs online. The man who feels powerless could create and lead an online group for a good cause, helping him gain a sense of power with a more positive outcome.

All of these changes require self-awareness, honesty, and effort, but they are necessary for resolving conflicts between our values and needs.

For me to begin living in alignment with my values, I first stopped being so mean, even when I felt that others deserved it. Living my values felt great, but I quickly discovered that some of my needs were not being met. By being mean to people who hurt my feelings, I was unconsciously telling myself that I didn’t deserve to be treated this way, that I was a person worthy of love, respect, and appreciation. But being a jerk only made people treat me worse.

I found that the only way for me to get past my point of conflict was to learn how to communicate more effectively, so that I could tell people how I would and how I would not allow them to treat me. This is really a weakness of mine, and I still struggle with it today, but the more I love, respect, and appreciate myself by not letting others treat me poorly, the better I feel and the easier it is to both live my values and get my needs met.

Now I react to feelings of not being appreciated more effectively—for example—by telling others how I would like to be treated.

Read 10 Skills You Need To Live A Happy Life

Changing your life is never easy but it’s always worth it. Give this activity a shot and I hope you can start living in closer alignment with your values.


Written by Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.
Originally appeared in Psychology Today
39 core values and how to live by them pin
39 Core Values And How To Live by Them
39 Core Values And How To Live by Them
39 Core Values And How To Live by Them
identify your core values pin
How To Identify Your Core Values and Live By Them
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Dr. Tchiki Davis

Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., is a consultant, writer, and expert on well-being technology. She has helped build happiness products, programs, and services that have reached more than a million people worldwide. To learn more about how Tchiki can help you grow your happiness & well-being, visit berkeleywellbeing.comView Author posts