Values vs. Beliefs

Values unite, beliefs divide.


There is a significant difference between values and beliefs.

Beliefs

Beliefs are assumptions we hold to be true. When we use our beliefs to make decisions, we are assuming the causal relationships of the past, which led to the belief, will also apply in the future.  In a rapidly changing world where complexity is increasing day by day, using information from the past to make decisions about the future may not be the best way to support us in meeting our needs.

Beliefs are contextual: They arise from learned experiences, resulting from the cultural and environmental situations we have faced. 

Values

Values are not based on information from the past and they are not contextual. Values are universal. Values transcend contexts because they are based on what is important to us: They arise from the experience of being human.

Values are intimately related to our needs: Whatever we need—whatever is important to us or what is missing from our lives—is what we value.  As our life conditions change, and as we mature and grow in our psychological development, our value priorities change. When we use our values to make decisions we focus on what is important to us—what we need to feel a sense of well-being. 

Exercise: Values, Beliefs and Behaviours