Core values are the principles that drive your life and shape who you are, according to licensed psychotherapist Babita Spinelli. As she tells mindbodygreen, core values act as our internal compass to help guide decisions, actions, life purpose, and what’s important in our lives—and they’re a fundamental part of our self-awareness and knowing ourselves.
“Our core values initially are informed by our early experiences and how we are raised, but that doesn’t mean they don’t evolve, change and develop,” Spinelli adds, noting that it’s important to always identify and understand your core values as they (and you) change.
And if our decisions and actions don’t align with our core values, “we ultimately will find ourselves unfulfilled, disrespected, dissatisfied, and unable to live the better, healthier version of self,” Spinelli explains. This can result in a negative toll on your emotional well-being and mental health, whether your core values are being sidelined by your own choices, your relationships, or your job.