ASSESSING YOUR VALUES: meaning & motivation

May 20, 2021

Photo Credit: Charlermusk Bootvises via vecteezy.com

There is value in examining your values, the powerful emotional and cognitive attitudes that underlie large and small life choices. Although values are initially acquired through family and institutions, an essential task of adulthood is consciously embracing traditional or individual values.

Values are the wellspring of libido: they motivate action toward goals. Unless preferred values are in alignment with the underlying flow of energy, unconscious agendas may prevail. Our actions reveal our values, and dreams depict conflicts between conscious and unconsciously held values. The work of Shalom Schwartz, available in an online values assessment (see below), can help identify core values. When values are authentically aligned with goals, they allow libido to flow naturally toward action, and we feel at home with ourselves and right with the world.  

Here’s the Dream We Analyze:

“I am on my school oval, playing volleyball with my peers, though I am not a teenager anymore. I’m not very good at playing; I often miss the ball because the sun is in my eyes, or I unknowingly break a rule. Each time I fail, I expect everyone to criticize me (like they would have in the real world), but instead, they are quite friendly and understanding. Eventually, I get the hang of it and have fun. Suddenly I notice a huge cherry blossom tree that’s caught fire just behind the volleyball court. Despite the bark turning black like charcoal, the flowers remain vivid and beautiful, and untarnished. I am struck with this beautiful sight against the cloudy white sky, and I reach for my phone to take a photo, but I cannot find it, so I simply sit and watch it with awe.”


Values Assessment based on the work of Shalom Schwartz: www.discoveryourvalues.com. 

Schwartz, S.H. An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1)1. https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1116 


Learn to Analyze your own Dreams:  https://thisjungianlife.com/enroll/

1 Comment

  1. Mamie Allegretti

    Your conversation brought up some interesting conversation between me and my husband. First, I think the behavior resulting form what we think are our values can change within certain contexts. For example, you may value honesty. But when your wife asks you, Does my butt look fat in these pants?” you may value a nice day without conflict rather than being true to your value of telling the brutally honest truth. We’ve all deviated from what we think are our values for expediency, out of fear or other reasons. Sometimes I think we have to take our values lightly. For example, should I really ask myself if I have attained my goals every day if that’s something I say I value? I don’t know. So many of our values are driven by social, familial or financial duty. What if I’ve achieved all my goals for the day but it’s left me feeling tired and worn out? Maybe something isn’t right. Deb hit on an interesting idea that might be a good podcast topic. It related to the fact that so much of our lives are civilized, routinized, restricted by external rules and even caught on camera at every moment!! Where and when can the instinctual, WILD part of us come out and play? And even when we do take our wild side out for a walk so to say, it is usually something that is given to us by others – by the outside world. For example, why do people ride rollercoaster, go bungee jumping, skydive and cruise on the zipline? In doing those things, there’s just exhilaration, just being and experiencing. It’s not working in a cubicle. I had a friend say to me that she just wanted to go outside naked and dance in the moonlight, under the stars. Sounds crazy, right? No! There’s a part of us that needs the unrestrained, instinctual life. Jung had Bollingen where he lived simply, cooked and enjoyed the natural world. Maybe we need to put our values and goals and duties aside and just be with our instinctual nature. I think that’s kind of why Joseph wanted to steal the candy. It’s a transgression of your societal duty not to steal and it’s exciting and delightful. But it can also be guilt producing. Maybe the trick for all of us is to find ways to trot out that wild side without breaking any laws! I was also thinking of Deb and her buying prepared foods. It reminds me of myself wanting to buy more pajamas. Of course I have a million pyjamas but I guess buying them represents comfort, puttering around the house, leisure, etc. and maybe that’s what I’m needing more of when I get the urge to buy them. So Deb, why are you buying prepared foods? Do you like not having to cook? Are you tired of nurturing everyone else with your cooking? Is it letting you do other things besides cooking? Perhaps you valued cooking for everyone in the past but now it’s wearing on you? These are just ideas. Of course, I don’t know your situation but it’s kind of interesting to explore any new habits. Thanks for another great episode.


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