Home Archive Prev Next

How to Create Peace in Relationships and Life by Knowing Your Core Values

Chart of core valuesMAUDE: Understanding core values and learning what yours are is foundational to the process we teach for creating peaceful harmonious relationships. We differentiate values from wants and needs on a spectrum of ever-increasing importance. This scale starts with wants which are the most ephemeral, moves through needs which are sometimes difficult to differentiate from values, and then to values which rarely change, even when you formulate them in different words or images.

Your core values are those upon which you base your life, your actions and decisions, even when you are not clearly aware of what they are. This can occur because values are often felt rather than thought, and as a result you may not have actually put them into words for yourself. And yet they are so critical to your life, inner peace, and all your relationships.

A knowledge and understanding of what yours are can be a great tool for creating mutual solutions to disagreements and misunderstandings in your relationships, as well as finding a more fulfilling way of applying them to what you do and how you do it in your life. We recommend setting aside time to take a deep dive into what yours are and formulating them for yourself. When you have done this, it will give you the opportunity to reflect on whether and how you put them into action.

Once you are aware of your core values, those most central to who you are, you can take a look at your relationships in terms of how much your partner, friends and even relatives have matching values. As it is a critical factor for creating peace and mutual solutions in your relationships, a match of core values is very important. When we say match, we mean they fit together, are the same or complementary and not opposed.

Working with this knowledge will help you to understand areas that may be causing a feeling of disconnection or discomfort in any given relationship. It will also enable you to look at things that appear to be causing problems even though they are not a conflict of values. When this is the case, ask yourself, if this is not opposed to my core values, why is it disturbing me so much? Prioritizing issues according to their alignment with your values can help you learn things about yourself and work on areas that may be getting in the way of peaceful relating.

Formulating your values and having an ever increasing awareness of what they are gives you a strong tool to move toward inner peace and peace within your relationships. We recommend a regular evaluation where you spend some time looking at your core values and what you are doing in the world. Are you walking your talk? Are you spreading your values in the world through your actions and interactions? This evaluation is not to judge yourself or give yourself grades of good or bad. It can be a way for you to reevaluate what you are doing. Ask if there are things you can do that would spread your values more fully.

The more you know your values and know what they are on a visceral level, the easier you will find it to walk through the world and find satisfaction and fulfillment.

See the chart above to help you begin to examine or review your own. (Click to enlarge it.) These are only ideas to help you toward becoming aware and familiar with them. Have a look and take some time to write your own down. These are core, so don’t make long lists. Just pick a few that are of the deepest meaning to you.

It can also be really juicy and useful in partnerships and intimate relationships for both of you to make lists and share them with each other. This helps when disconnects arise; you can look at whether they are really about values or are just different ways of expressing the same values. Again, if its not about values, then why is it disturbing you?. This can be a fruitful area of self-inquiry.

PHIL: We’ve come to see that having the same values as your partner is a key part of having a successful relationship. Without them, you’re going to clash again and again over what to do. When your values match, you can always find choices that work for both of you.

The language is tricky because pretty much everything can be described in terms of its value, whether that is its usefulness or its financial valuation. We find it helpful to think in terms of a spectrum of wants, needs and values that are progressively less malleable. What you want and need can be valuable in a material sense, while values are about how you live in the world, how you treat others, the areas of aesthetics, morality and ethics.

Although many, many books have been written on these subjects, the basis for them is how we feel. Some examples are fairness, respect, autonomy, obligation, and caring,– but these are just suggestions; please choose your own.

The words come afterwards and are chosen to support those feelings. Very few people hold positions that they feel are wrong. (Let’s leave aside the issue of writing to deceive.)

The most important of these, the ones on which you cannot compromise without feeling bad, are your core values. When you find those and give word to them, you have a rock to stand on. With this and a partner with matching or complementary values, there is no need for conflict.

This rock, this sense of your core values, also eases your path through the world. Without knowing your own values, you choose that path according to the values of others, but when you know your own values, you are well on the way to heeding Socrates’ words: “Know yourself.”

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Slide from Phil and Maude’s course

Let us know any questions or comments you have by clicking here and leaving them directly on the blog.
Headphone iconClick here to listen to Phil reading this blog.
Couple looking at screen
Check the video above and spread the word to everyone you know! 
Poster for course

Day 1: Saturday October 15, 2022

  • Session 1: 9:00 AM PDT looks at Core Values, finding out what yours are and how they are fundamental to your relationships.
  • Session 2: 2:00 PM PDT explores respecting individuality and the radical result of total acceptance which transforms your relationships.

Day 2: Sunday October 16, 2022

  • Session 3: 2:00 PM PDT is Phil and Maude's process for creating mutual solutions rather than fighting and arguing.

Follow-up meeting:

  • Saturday October22, 2022 at 9 AM PDT for an hour, getting back together with the group and sharing how people have applied the ideas from the course. This is an optional follow-up meeting.
Register at Eventbrite
The content of this course can be applied to all relationships. Your participation is welcomed regardless of your particular situation: you can come as a couple, a single, one member of a couple, or someone who wants to improve family, friendship or partner relationships.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we wrote about how to create peace in relationships and life by knowing your core values. These articles share a variety of ways to define core values and suggest how to find yours.

6 Ways to Discover and Choose Your Core Values "Life presents an endless series of decisions, large and small, that require you to make difficult choices. While many factors are involved, the critical factor in deciding may be your core values. These values tell you what kind of person you are, or want to be, and provide guidelines, or even imperatives, for your actions. But how do you know what your core values are? This blog post will reveal six ways to discover and choose your core values."

5 Ways Your Core Values Impact Your Life "They are the reason why we do what we do, even if we’re not consciously negotiating our decision-making with values at the forefront. Don’t believe me? Here are five ways they are impacting your life and if you’re married, your relationship with your spouse."

Live Your Core Values: 10-Minute Exercise to Increase Your Success "How are you showing up at work? In your personal relationships? For yourself? How you show up in the world is determined by your core values. It doesn’t take years of self-reflection to uncover your core values.  This simple exercise can help you determine them so you can start aligning your personal goals with them. How long will it take? About 10 minutes, well worth the investment!"

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
Read our blogs at PhilAndMaude.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram
Email us at philandmaude@philandmaude.com
If you are interested in newsletters you've missed, see our archive.
Do you know anyone who would enjoy this newsletter? Tell them to sign up at https://philandmaude.com/signup/