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20 Personal Values Examples to Help You Find Your Own

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Personal values 101

20 core value examples

6 tips for defining your own core values

Living by your values

Moving forward

It’s a Sunday morning. You’re standing in line at your favorite café, ready to indulge in your weekend ritual of a cappuccino and a good book. 

Four people are in front of you. Then three. Then two. Then… out of nowhere, a man cuts to the front. The barista is taken aback. But they obviously don’t want trouble. They serve him and you’re up next.

“Can you believe that guy?” you mutter to the barista. You value patience and fairness. He obviously doesn’t. 

Every day, we make judgments based on our values. They inform our behaviors and understanding of right and wrong. They help shape how we think, act, and feel. And ultimately, our values help guide us to our purpose in life. What we do with our careers, our personal lives, and even our relationships rely on our values.  

Value systems can be shared by different societies and cultures. Societal values can help us shape what we determine to be right or wrong, good or bad. Though, as we see by the coffee shope example, there’s room for deviation. 

To most Americans, the most important values are having a happy relationship, an honest and respectable life, and safety and security. 

Understanding your own values is a fundamental part of self-awareness and getting to know yourself as a human being. Understanding what you value can help you understand the world around you.

With a better understanding of your values, you can become more empathetic. You might show better emotional regulation. Or you might improve your communication skills. 

But identifying your values is difficult. It requires deep self-reflection and self-honesty — both of which are hard work. When you’re hustling and bustling every day, taking the time to do this comes at a premium. 

We put together this list of personal values examples to save you time. You can go through them, see which you relate to, and try to understand how they fit in your day-to-day. Then you can begin the work of self-improvement and find direction in your life.

Personal values 101

Before we get into examples, let’s establish some core principles. Knowing how values work will help you in your personal development.

What are personal core values?

Personal values are how you differentiate between “good” and “bad” in your community, culture, or society. They’re what you view as the ideal standards of behavior, like patience and honesty.

You probably have some guiding principles in your life that inform your  decision making, goal setting, and overall disposition. These are probably your core values.

What is a personal values system?

Your personal values system is the cumulation of all your personal values. Together, they shape how you interact with the world around you.

How are personal values formed?

You likely picked up your values from how and where you were raised. Your parents or primary caregiver, your siblings, your school, your friends, your community, your culture, your religion, your country — all of these factor into how personal values are formed.

Why are core personal values important?

Common core values are essential to social cohesion, but they can also cause conflict or discrimination. One study by the Association for Consumer Research found that people of culturally diverse backgrounds may be identified by their values with 65% accuracy. 

These differences in values might be strong enough to cause friction.

Are personal values permanent?

Although your core values may be fairly stable, it might surprise you to know that your values change and evolve. Personal values are constantly changing. This is why it’s important to understand your own personal values system and to check in with your values regularly. 

Sometimes we hold values that seem right but haven't been tested. For example, before you have children you might think that you value order and predictability. Two kids later you might realize that other values like laughter, flexibility, or creative expression matter to you far more.

Through self-reflection and self-examination, you might find certain values are holding you back or hurting your relationships. For example, values around money and status that once seemed compelling may stop being helpful if you realize that you are still seeking satisfaction.

Once you’re aware of them, you can consider whether they still matter to you. You may find that you need to change or reframe them so they are more helpful and less harmful in your life. Or, if the values still hold true, you can change your life to honor the values that matter to you.

Understanding and staying aligned with your values requires some effort and Inner Work®. But living and working in alignment with our values is critically important for well-being. Ask for help if you need it. At BetterUp, we can help you on your journey to be your best self.

20 core value examples

Here’s a list of core values to inspire you. Try to look for them within yourself:

  1. Altruism
  2. Dependability
  3. Integrity
  4. Generosity
  5. Courage
  6. Gratitude
  7. Well-being
  8. Sustainability
  9. Family
  10. Self-respect
  11. Adaptability
  12. Uniqueness
  13. Assertiveness
  14. Support
  15. Open-mindedness
  16. Personal growth
  17. Flexibility
  18. Frugality
  19. Improvement
  20. Self-reliance

You can see how these might define your behavior or affect life decisions. If you value humility, you’ll be less likely to be flashy about your skills — no matter how talented you actually are.

6 tips for defining your own core values

Here’s how you can start identifying values in your own life. Open a document or pull out a notebook and try the following brainstorming exercises.

1. Think of the most meaningful moments in your life

What made them meaningful to you? Who were you with? What were you doing? You can define “meaningful” however you like — but it usually encompasses moments where you were at peace and filled with purpose.

Parents experience this during their child's birth, first steps, and first words. You might experience it at work when you’re using your skills to do something important for the company. Or with a friend when you’re helping them through a hard time and know your words resonate with them. 

As you list your meaningful moments, a theme should emerge. This will point to some of your core values.

2. Think of the moments you felt the least satisfied

This is similar to our first exercise. But this time, try to imagine the opposite. What were some of your worst life experiences? Why were they unfulfilling to you? What were you doing? How were other people behaving toward you?

You might feel unfulfilled at work if the organization’s values don’t match your own. It’s the same story when spotting red flags in a relationship. Mismatched values might leave you feeling unsatisfied.

3. Pay attention to what stories inspire you

When you read the news, see if any articles catch your attention. Look for people whose behavior you admire or respect. Think about why they speak to you and what that says about you.

4. Figure out what makes you angry

You can learn a lot about your values by paying attention to what irritates you. Maybe a movie character rubs you the wrong way, someone in your life upset you, or you found a task frustrating. Your anger might be rooted in a contradiction of your values.

5. Imagine your ideal world

If you had the power to reshape the world, what would it look like? Think of the services you’d like to provide (or not provide), how citizens would treat each other, and what activities they would partake in. Chances are, your choices will reflect your values.

6. Review the accomplishments you’re most proud of

You’ve done a lot of things in your life. Think of the ones that fill you with pride. What did you do? What was the impact? Why those accomplishments and not others?

You might see some overlap with your most meaningful moments here. Was your college graduation one of the best days of your life? Is that more important than a really great day you had with your friends? What does that tell you?

Living by your values

It’s good to understand your values, but they mean nothing without action. Here are some tips that will help you live more authentically.

1. Create a list of priority values

Not all values are equal, and some might even conflict. You’ll have to think of which ones are most important to you. 

Make a list of your top values. If you’re stuck between two, imagine a situation where you could only satisfy only one of them. Think about which one you would choose. 

Here’s an example you might find in your personal life. 

Let’s say your best friend has a foul odor today, and you’re wondering if you should say something. Your top two values are honesty and kindness.

Do you tell your friend and risk hurting their feelings? Or do you keep it to yourself, sacrificing your honesty? (Sometimes, being honest is being kind. But you get the idea!)

2. Use your values to set goals

Your values should inform your five-year plan and vision statement. 

Consider the following question: What do you have to change to better live by your values? This question can help you set short and long-term goals.

For example, if you value co-operation, you might look for a job that focuses on teamwork. If you value learning, you enroll in night classes to earn additional qualifications.

3. Allow for exceptions

Values are your ideal vision for the world, but sometimes they conflict with reality. To mitigate this, think of circumstances where it’s acceptable to compromise. You can value loyalty to your best friend unless they violate your trust.

4. Strengthen your values with good habits

It’s easy to lose track of your values when you’re busy with daily life. Here are some habits that can help you when you don’t have much free time:

  • Read them out every morning
  • Plan how you’ll live by your values throughout the day
  • Print out your values and carry them with you
  • Place them somewhere visible, where you’ll see them every day
  • If you accidentally stray from your values, analyze the situation after. Ask what you could have done differently

These small daily tasks will help you live a life that adheres to your values.

5. Practice Inner Work

Inner Work®️ is about exploring your internal self and connecting it to the world around you. This means making the changes necessary to live your values every day.

It can also mean recognizing when some values don’t serve you anymore. After some self-reflection, you might find that your attitudes do more harm than good. Inner Work is about recognizing that and finding the courage and motivation to make the daily changes that will help you live with more clarity, purpose, and passion.  

BetterUp can help you use Inner Work® to strengthen your values and find alignment. 

Moving forward

Now you’ll know why it irks you so much next time someone cuts you in line. People with mismatching values are at best draining and at worst enraging. The same is true for other aspects of your life. But it’s important to live by what you think is right. 

When you live by your values, you’ll notice that things start to feel easier. It’ll improve your emotional health and help you feel more at peace. Plus, you’ll unlock your potential, knowing that you’re doing what you were meant to do.

We hope that these personal values examples will help you find your way. And if you’re struggling to identify yours, try working with BetterUp. We can help you do the work to learn what will lead you to your best self.

Personal Values & Beliefs: Definitions, Lists & Examples

Stock to your personal values seems simple enough in theory. After all, you are the individual who assigns these core values to yourself. Your values are what are truly important in your personal life, so it should be one’s natural instinct to follow them.

However, the vast majority of individuals are putting their values aside each and every day. This prevents them from living a fulfilling life and achieving many of the value-driven goals they previously had in mind.

Regardless of which career you have or which specific goals you have, values should always be prioritized. While this can clearly be challenging at times, everyone is also capable of living a value-oriented lifestyle.

In this article, we will discuss the most common personal values and the benefits of placing value on values.

What Are Personal Values? Definition

Personal values are the real priorities you have in life. They are anything that you find immensely important and the characteristics that drive you to pursue your dreams and shape the way you approach decisions. For instance, one common value is honesty.

People who value honesty believe that always telling the truth is extremely important. They speak their mind, even if it means giving negative criticism. If they sugarcoat something, they may feel like they have not upheld their value.

Everyone has their own unique, exhaustive list of values. While someone’s values list includes cooperation and friendliness, someone else may prioritize independence and competitiveness.

There is no objective right or wrong value. Define your values by what motivates you and what makes you happy, even if it seems strange to others.

Importance of Personal Values and List with Benefits

Personal values help guide you when making decisions. They allow you to clearly identify what makes you happy, and which choices can contribute to you living the best life possible; values can make a person happy after they make the correct career choice that aligns with their passions.

Values drive each and every one of our actions, so it is important to ensure your values are consistent and clearly thought out. While there is a huge list of benefits to having values, below is just 10 examples of their benefits:

Benefits of Personal Values

  1. Increases self-awareness.
  2. Positively influence career outcomes, likely leading to a more fulfilling and successful career.
  3. Boost the quality of one’s daily life.
  4. Helps individuals make sounder decisions.
  5. Assists people in goal-setting (especially when it comes to big, long-term goals).
  6. Boosts confidence.
  7. Can help you become more persistent and get you through a tough time.
  8. Eliminates clutter and unnecessary distractions from work or in relationships.
  9. Reduces stress levels and burnout rates.
  10. Encourages more assertive behavior.

How to Define and Identify Personal Values (Guide)

Defining your values is a bit like self-exploration. You get to understand your major goals, what’s important to you, and the life trajectory you would like to see yourself go on. There are a number of crucial steps you should take before identifying your values, and there are simple ways to optimize your value application.

Below is an outline for how to identify and apply your values:

Step 1: Identify the times when you were happiest

Happiness and satisfaction are two metrics that are crucially important to your life experience. One of the main purposes of having values to guide you is to identify what specifically makes you happy.

Try to look back on both your career and personal life to see what truly made you smile. This will add variety and balance to your answers. Ask yourself: what tasks was I performing? Who was I surrounded by? Where was I? Did anything else contribute to my happiness at that moment?

Step 2: Identify the times when you were most proud

Everyone has some moment that they felt extremely proud of. Whether it be overcoming a fear, challenging yourself, or something else, look back at the career and personal instances where you felt proud.

Recall why you were proud, who contributed to your pride, who shared the pride with you (if anyone),  and any other factors that made you swell with pride.

Step 3: Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied

Satisfaction and fulfillment must be achieved both professionally and personally to truly live the best life possible. That is why it is crucial to (again) consider both personal and career examples of moments where you felt fulfilled.

Which specific need was fulfilled? Did this moment give you any long-lasting meaning/impact? Did any other factor make you feel satisfied?

Step 4: Determine your top values, based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment

Look back on each of the prior instances you have recalled. Why are they memorable to you? Which value motivated you to achieve something, better yourself, or boost your happiness?

There is a list of dozens of values that could have potentially contributed to your satisfaction, happiness, and pride, so reflect on those moments and analyze which of these values contributed most to these moments.

Step 5: Prioritize your top values

This step could be the most challenging, as it requires deep personal reflection and commitment. When making any decision, a value will be upheld. However, you need to ensure that those values are aligned with the ones you previously outlined.

Try writing down your top values. Then, imagine a scenario where you could only satisfy one of these values. Consider which one you would prioritize, and compare each of your values until you have your values ranked in order of importance.

Step 6: Reaffirm your values

Look back on the list you have just created and ensure it satisfies your goals, desires, and vision for your future.

Ask yourself: do these values reflect me as a person? Would I be comfortable sharing them with those I care about? Am I proud of these values? If you answered yes to these questions, you have likely selected the right values for your own unique journey.

How to Prioritise Your Personal Values?

Once you have a list of your top values, prioritizing certain values is essential. There will be times where you have to choose between fulfilling one value or another, and making the right decision is crucial in such circumstances.

Also, prioritizing values helps you better understand yourself and your goals. You may have a relatively broad list of values that includes everything from adventure to cooperation to kindness, and so on.

However, value prioritization makes planning decisions simpler. For instance, if you clearly prioritize risk-taking, you can plan to start a new business as your top goal. On the other hand, if you value kindness, you can put an emphasis on volunteering in your free time.

Of course, you should try living according to all your values. However, it’s unrealistic to think all your values can be fulfilled with every decision. You need to understand what is most important to you and focus on those particular value-based tasks, as they will have the greatest payoff.

20 Examples of Personal Core Values

Everyone has their own unique set of values, but sometimes it can be hard to narrow them down and identify values that reasonable to you.

If you are struggling to find your values, the following list of values may help inspire you:

  1. Friendship
  2. Determination
  3. Confidence
  4. Risk-taking/courage
  5. Persistence and perseverance
  6. Creativity
  7. Independence
  8. Intelligence
  9. Honesty
  10. Authenticity
  11. Dependability
  12. Justice
  13. Compassion
  14. Spontaneity
  15. Security
  16. Fitness
  17. Leadership
  18. Personal development
  19. Patience
  20. Encouragement

How to Adapt and Change Your Values When Needed

It is possible that your values may need to change throughout your life. While some of your core values will probably remain with you, others may change as you get Jew goals, insights, opportunities, and experience.

Even if your values do stay the same, their order of priority may change. When you are young, you are more likely to prioritize risk-taking or creativity. As you get older and start a family, you may begin to value security and fiscal stability more.

After divorce, you may begin to value exploration more. As you can see, values are dependent on your current situation and can change from time to time. Check in to see if your values change. Create a new set of values, prioritize them, and see if anything changes from the prior brainstorming session.

Do this at least once a year and after every major life event (divorce, new job, getting fired, extreme illness, etc). Reread your values more often, though. If you feel a value no longer represents your goals and vision, consider revising your list.

How to Live Your Values With Integrity and Use Them to Make Decisions

Simply listing out your values is a good start to living a more fulfilling life, but it doesn’t actually change much. To truly get your life aligned with your goals, you must first align your actions with your values.

Many people struggle with the execution elements of value application, but it does not have to be complex or confusing.

Below, we will discuss ways to apply your values to your everyday life and daily decision-making.

Use Your Values for Goal Setting

Consider whether or not you are currently living by your values if your career aligns with your values, and if the time you are spending on daily activities reflects the values you outlined for yourself. If not, then no need to fret.

Simply look back on the value list you created and come up with an activity that could align with each value. For instance, individuals who value persistence can commit to doing one challenging task each day.

Or, if you care about mental toughness or resilience, commit to starting the day with an extremely cold shower. At the end of the brainstorming session, you will likely have a large list of tasks you could perform for each value.

Make Decisions According to Your Values

Do not reflect the importance of making value-based decisions daily, even if they seem like small, insignificant decisions.

Do your current decisions align with your values? If you value leadership, are you out there motivating your team, or are you letting someone else take charge? Making value-based decisions is challenging to some, but a number of strategies can help make this process easier.

Try reading your value list each morning, visualizing how you can make decisions based on your values, setting reminders that note your values, making your cellphone’s background your value list, or analyzing ways you could have decided differently if you make a decision that goes against your values.

Possible Barriers to Overcome

The previously described steps seem simple enough, yet people still struggle to implement their personal values. Often, this is because of a lack of clarity or the potential for conflict. If you value risk-taking, but the rest of your family values security, pursuing your value can be extremely difficult.

The practicality of your situation may limit your pursuit of values. For instance, you could value leadership, but you are placed in a junior position because of your age. Remember that there is more than just one way to make a value-based decision and that sometimes, compromises will be necessary.

Create a caveat to your value (such as, “I will take risks, as long as it doesn’t endanger my family’s income”). You could fight for change on behalf of your values, or try to focus on your own decisions without causing conflict with your peers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Values

What are the Top 5 Core Personal Values?

What are examples of beliefs?

Every person has a list of beliefs, even if they are subconscious. Beliefs share your outlook on the world around you as well as on yourself. They can be connected to values.

Some examples of beliefs include: I am confident, hard work is important, I am skilled, others will help me if I need support, people are generally good-natured, free will guides human action, failure is an opportunity to grow, and so on.

What are 10 personal values?

What are the 5 main values?

Every individual has a unique list of values that guide them throughout their daily life.

Five of the most common and widely known values include: integrity, accountability, diligence, perseverance, and discipline.

These values can be applied virtually anywhere. They are used in the workplace, in relationships, at schools, and within sports teams.

20 reasons why others don't give a damn about you


Man among men

I play a game where I let them win. I'm playing a game I don't want to play, I don't know how to play, and worse, I don't even know I'm playing it. And in this game, I'm always a loser. Because the cards were dealt long before it began. Because the best people are not valued by other people.

1. I feel bad for you when you violate my boundaries. nine0010 Instead of asking myself what's going on with my relationship, I ask him what's wrong? I minimize my needs because I love too much.

2. I don't feel when I'm being bullied for the first time. I wasn't respected much when I was a child and not much has changed since then. As long as the situation does not go beyond all possible boundaries, I consider it normal. And then it turns out too late.

He is always stressed, angry, sarcastic, tired… These are all signs that your partner is from the category of “toxic” people, but if he is still around you, this is also a sign that boundaries do not exist or they've been gone for a long time. nine0003

Chaos occurs when there are no boundaries in relationships.

If someone acts like they don't care about you, then they really don't care about you.

3. I forgive right away. When I finally realize that I'm being disrespected, I think, "They didn't want to." And I automatically forgive. Or at least I convince them that what they have done is bad.

What the hell? Instead of standing up and standing up for myself, I teach them good manners. nine0003

4. I choose between relationships and self-esteem. I want love. This is a healthy desire. Everyone wants love. But I do not want to be alone for a minute and I protect my relationship at the cost of many concessions.

5. I start to convince you that I am worth something, instead of acting. I remind you that I am a good friend, wife, I give examples of how I took care of you. This is the biggest co-dependency mistake: trying to change what people think of you instead of taking care of yourself. And it doesn't work. nine0003

The only way to show someone else that you are worth something is to be worth something. And there is only one way to do it - to believe in it yourself. When you know your worth, you don't have to prove anything.

6. I believe that the one who loves me will never offend me. I see the world full of kind people, and it never occurs to me that someone who loves me might deliberately want to offend me. I live in a world of fairy tales and fantasies, which at some point, for some unknown reason, turns into a world of nightmares. nine0003

I don't know one simple truth: Just because I love someone with all my heart doesn't guarantee that they will treat me well.

I have yet to learn an important thing: I must always protect myself by setting my own boundaries, no matter how much I love.

7. I think he feels and thinks like me. My purpose in relationships is pure and innocent: to love, to help, to protect. And I sincerely (and wrongly!) think that everyone around has the same goals as me. No, there are selfish, corrupt, cunning people in the world. And yet I still ignore the warning signs. nine0003

Even the nicest people in the world will not refuse to use you if you give them the opportunity to do so.

8. I don't want to offend anyone, even if they offend me. I am very careful in relationships. I move carefully and make sure I don't step on anyone's feet, I don't want to hurt anyone, even at the cost of my own pain. I even try to shield them from the experience of hurting me. I hide it and pretend that everything is fine. It doesn't occur to me that if someone acts like they don't care about you, then they really don't care about you. nine0003

9. I am blind to the truth and do not believe that anyone WANTS to offend me. But even the nicest people in the world will not refuse to use you if you give them the opportunity.

10. I need your estimate. Since childhood, I have felt that something is wrong with me. I need you to tell me that I'm good because I still can't tell myself that. And I also want you to admit that you were wrong when you offended me. That is, it turns out - I need another person in order to say that I can not be offended. And what do you think he will say? nine0003

11. I am a very empathic person: 100% empathy for you and 0 % for myself. When someone offended me, I feel embarrassed for him. I take responsibility for other people's feelings even when they hurt mine. This is the path to heaven, but it leads straight to hell.

12. I automatically think that everyone is right and I am wrong. Because the first thought that occurs to me when someone offends me is: “Probably I was wrong. What did I do wrong? nine0003

13. I am a magnet for those who like to play power. Narcissists and egoists are attracted to me because I allow myself to be used. If I had to choose scenarios to play in, it would be a vampire drinking blood, an innocent victim laying his head on a chopping block, a sheep being sheared... The behavior of the victim is comfortable for me. And the Universe continues to give me what I myself ask of it…

14. I don't know what respect looks like. It seems to me that you need to live in order to find yourself and your love, despite all the mistakes that I made. The idea that you can be in a relationship where you are respected, “just like that”, without doing anything for this, is alien to me. nine0003

15. I love everyone and feel sorry for them when they offend me. Emotionally I am more attuned to others than to myself. I can't catch my own wave and hear what it sounds like.

16. I don't make decisions for myself. I ask others if what they have done to me is good. I seek consensus and compromise before doing anything in my favor. I believe that until I receive confirmation from another, I can not decide anything. Actually, it's called helplessness. nine0003

Think about what's going on: I'm asking what's going on and why of someone who hurt me. I'm looking for confirmation from someone who doesn't respect me to say that he doesn't respect me...

17. I don't build boundaries. For the following reasons:

1) I want to please someone else,

2) I don’t want complications,

3) I don’t know what I myself need and don’t think about it,

4) I don’t know how to do it.

18. I feel guilty when I can't give you everything. nine0010

19. I feel uncomfortable in an equal relationship. I need to give back. So I feel like I'm worth something.

20. I'm afraid to be alone. Because I think that relationships with others are much more important than relationships with myself. Once I was small and thought that I would die without love. But I continue to live this old story and do not think that much has changed since then.

I don't know that the moment I don't let another person control my emotions, I'll have inner peace. nine0003

About the author: Jenna Ryan is a blogger and businesswoman.

Text: Maria Malygina Photo source: Getty Images

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13 signs that you are valued at work (even if you don’t think so) — Work.ua . At the same time, many believe that they are undeservedly underestimated. You too? Perhaps you are wrong. nine0146

Very often people do not notice their own merits, being in pursuit of other people's happiness. Thus, professionals in their field remain in the shadows due to excessive insecurity, and brilliant minds fade due to lack of praise. Work.ua tells you what you should pay attention to to make sure that you are valued and respected at work.

  • Colleagues and superiors consult with you. And not only on work, but also on personal issues. Your opinion matters, no matter what position you hold. nine0152
  • You will be one of the first to know the latest news in the company (not to be confused with gossip). As a rule, such information is shared only with those in whose honesty and decency there is no doubt.
  • You are often trusted to supervise projects or train new employees. Because you have leadership abilities and are not afraid of additional tasks.
  • You receive bonuses and bonuses more often than other colleagues.
  • Meetings after work and parties on the occasion of professional holidays do not take place without you. In other words, you can consider yourself the soul of the team. nine0152
  • Your comments are listened to, your requests and comments do not go unnoticed. This means that they see you as a real professional who has his own vision for any processes.
  • Colleagues laugh at your jokes, bosses praise your ideas, subordinates don't whisper when you walk by.
  • Your area of ​​responsibility is constantly expanding, you are given more and more new tasks and this is reflected in your salary.
  • Management and colleagues are honest with you. It makes no sense to deceive someone you do not doubt, which means that you enjoy authority among those around you.
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