Value Cards for Gratitude and Compassion

How to Use Values Cards for Self-Inquiry


Understanding our values is crucial, forming the foundational principles that guide our actions, decisions, and interactions. They shape why we do what we do, how we make choices, where we direct our efforts, and with whom we collaborate. 

As we embark on this journey, we’ll weave our narratives, values, and traditions into a harmonious tapestry, determining what resonates most with us and what aligns with the world’s needs. 

In the following discussion, I’ll showcase a values card exercise, giving you a glimpse of how this simple yet powerful tool can help us understand our priorities and preferences. Remember, your values are a compass guiding you in the vast ocean of life, steering you towards meaningful actions and decisions. So, let’s share and explore our top five values, examining how they manifest in our lives and how they might shape our journies.

Before you watch the video, download + print a set of values cards here.

(I like to use PERSONAL VALUES Card Sort from W.R. Miller, J. C’de Baca, D.B. Matthews, P.L. Wilbourne , University of New Mexico, 2001.)


Hello class! Emma here. I’m excited to share with you our first self-inquiry practice, which is values cards. Some of you have maybe done this before, but this version I think it has about

50 values; and what I want you to do is print out the PDF and cut out all the values. So you should have 50 little strips of paper and each one has a value on it like excitement, flexibility, comfort, growth. 

You’ll see them when you print them out. And I think values are a really important thing to start thinking about at the beginning of this course because they’re one of the main underlying principles of why do we do what we do; how we choose what we’re going to do; where we’re going to do it; who we’re going to do it with. So weaving in our narratives, weaving in our values, weaving in our faith traditions, they’ll all start to come together into a tapestry of what is going to work best for you. Where do your gifts and the world’s needs meet each other? I’m looking over here because my values table is over here. Mine ended up looking like this, yours might look a little different.

Alright. Here is my values card exercise. You can see it’s not that orderly, but in some ways it is. I put at the top the categories: not important to me, important to me, and very important to me.

It’s like a spectrum and over here I have some water and some matcha. I would highly recommend a little hydration and a little caffeine or sugar. Whatever keeps you awake, maybe some healthy herbal tea. And then I put all of the cards as quickly as possible in what felt like the right place along the spectrum from less important to me to more important to me. 

You can do this slowly, but I would recommend doing it very quickly, because sometimes we can start to question ourselves. We can start to overthink and really in this kind of exercise, it’s first-thought-best-thought. Also, that way your superego can’t get too involved. Like I started realizing, “Oh God, world peace is not that important to me!” But there’s so many important values. So if you go quickly, oftentimes, you’ll get a more realistic view of at least what your values are at this particular moment. Here, if you’re curious about me, you can see the most important ones over here. 

So you might be wondering, “How do I know which ones are the most important to me?” Some of you will know right away – you’ll get a little ding either in your mind or in your body or emotionally and some of them might take a little more thinking, like, “What do I spend most of my time on? What do I spend most of my money on?” Dor example, when I saw the word health, I didn’t immediately think, “Oh that is one of my core values,” even though I know it’s important to me. But then I thought about how I actually spend a lot of my time and money on my health and I think when it comes down to it, it’s more of a value than I might consciously realize it is. So it might take a little bit of sleuthing. 

Once you’re done with this laying them all out, I want you to choose your top five and then your top three and then go into the discussion board and share what are your top five values and top three values. How do they show up in your life and how do you imagine they might show up in your spiritual practice and spiritual vocation going forward? So I’ll share mine with you: self-knowledge, authenticity, genuineness. I think those really show up in my spiritual practice which is all about self-inquiry and my professional practice which is also all about self-inquiry what is genuinely happening here and how can we use it to create intimacy and health to find our purpose and to understand ourselves and there’s so many other values that I care about, but since we only have so much time and energy… this can be a really good litmus test for is this thing that I’m doing worth doing? Does it line up with my most important values? Do I really look forward to reading everybody’s in the discussion and I hope this has been helpful.


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