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Core Values: knowing them helps decision making and self esteem.

Core Values

What are core values?

Core values are the compass to your inner direction, they point to what is most important to you such as your family, your relationships, or ideals such as compassion, honesty, justice or freedom. Core values define who you are, the compass that can direct your behaviour, build your self-esteem, and motivate you. Core values are not always at the forefront of your mind, they exist in the background, they are your conscience, they are that voice that guides you, the voice that defines right and wrong, in other words, they inform your sense of morality.


Core values provide your life with meaning and depth. When you have identified them and live by them; the world makes more sense. Values help you to find your life purpose, your passion, and your happiness with integrity and authenticity. They assist you to be the best version of yourself. If you are not feeling good about yourself, it is likely that you are not living by your core values. Have you ever asked questions like ‘who am I?’ ‘How do others see me or perceive me?’ ‘What sort of impact do I have on others?’ ‘The answer to those questions lies in knowing your values, they are at the core of your identity. Your core values will determine a lot of your behaviour; they determine what you spend the majority of your time on, where you spend your money, with whom you spend most of your time and your political preferences.


When you violate your values, it decimates your self-esteem, reduces your self- respect and you can lose sight of your self-concept and identity. This happens because you are going against the grain of your inner compass, your conscience and your sense of morality.


Below is an exercise to identify your core values and then further discussion on how you can use them to achieve your goals, live authentically and most importantly, to know yourself better.

The Core Values exercise.

Below is a list of values, go through them and choose twenty of them according to how important they are to you. Number them from 1-20 with 1 being most important value. The dictionary meaning of the words shouldn’t be overly significant, it is what that particular word means to you.

Accountability

Diligence

Helping others

Power

Accuracy

Discipline

Holiness

Practicality

Adventure

Discretion

Honesty

Preparedness

Altruism

Diversity

Honour

Prestige

Ambition

Diplomacy

Humility

Professionalism

Assertiveness

Economy

Independence

Prudence

Appearance

Education

Ingenuity

Prosperity

Authority

Effectiveness

Inner Harmony

Purpose

Balance

Efficiency

Intimacy

Quality

Beauty

Elegance

Inquisitiveness

Rationality

Being the best

Empathy

Insightfulness

Reliability

Belonging

Enjoyment

Intelligence

Resourcefulness

Calmness

Enthusiasm

Integrity

Restraint

Carefulness

Environmentalism

Identity

Respect

Challenge

Equality

Intuition

Results Oriented

Cheerfulness

Excellence

Inventiveness

Righteousness

Clear-Mindedness

Excitement

Joy

Security

Commitment

Expertise

Justice

Self-actualisation

Community

Exploration

Knowledge

Self-control

Communication

Expressiveness

Leadership

Selflessness

Compassion

Fairness

Love

Self-reliance

Competition

Faith

Loyalty

Self-acceptance

Competence

Family

Motivation

Self-respect

Consistency

Fidelity

Mastery

Sensitivity

Consensus

Fitness

Maturity

Serenity

Contentment

Focus

Merit

Service

Contribution

Forgiveness

Neatness

Sexuality

Control

Freedom

Obedience

Sensuality

Co-operation

Friendship

Openness

Shrewdness

Correctness

Fun

Order

Simplicity

Courtesy

Generosity

Originality

Spontaneity

Courage

Giving

Patriotism

Spirituality

Creativity

Goodness

Peace

Stability

Cleanliness

God

Personal Growth

Status

Curiosity

Grace

Perseverance

Strength

Decisiveness

Growth

Perfection

Success

Democracy

Happiness

Pleasure

Support

Dependability

Hard work

Play

Teamwork

Determination

Harmony

Piety

Tradition

Devoutness

Health

Positivity

Tolerance

Gratitude

Wealth

Vitality

Warmth

Unity

Vision

Timeliness

Youthfulness

Uniqueness

Usefulness

Truth

Make a difference

Mindfulness

Understanding

Prosperity

Practicality

Recognition

Inspirational

Privacy

Safety

Kindness

Likability

Nature

Caring

Encouragement

Healing

Listen

Authenticity

Self-Expression

Conquer

Passivity

Synchronicity

Devotion

Passion

Discovery

Change

Charity

Gratitude

Reflection

Solitude

Kinship

Receive

Inclusiveness


What did you find out about yourself? Are you living by your core-values? Where might you be violating them?


The benefits of regularly affirming your core values.

By regularly looking at, thinking about or writing about your core values, you make way for some valuable changes in the way you interact with the world.

1) Reduced stress, which is good news for your immune system and general health.

2) Reduces existential terror (fear of death)

3) Reduces your defense mechanisms such as cognitive dissonance and stereotyping.

4) Increases your ability to listen to others point of view.

5) Increases your ability to make good healthcare decisions

6) It can help improve relationships due to reduced need to defend self.

7) It increases your ability to respond rather than react to others.

8) Increases resilience

9) Better decision -making capacity

10) It increases your self- esteem and self-efficacy.


So how does knowing this increase your self-esteem and make better decisions?

When you know yourself, by knowing your core values and you LIVE by them, you draw your self- esteem intrinsically, meaning that you self-esteem comes from within you. Living by your core-values gives you a sense of identity and security. When you live by your core-values you move towards what you value and away from what you don't, increased self-esteem is a natural by-product. The same applies to decision making; you make decisions based on your core-values you're naturally making better decisions!


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