Are Your Passions Supported by Your Core Values?

passions and desires

What happens when we inadvertently find ourselves cultivating passions and desires for things that are out of harmony with our core values and beliefs. I have found that this is one of the main reasons why many people feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled with life even when they have a lot to feel good about.

It’s not a very popular message, but the hidden cause of personal dissatisfaction often comes from cultivating desires and passions that offend your personal values.

Knowingly or unknowingly acting on desires and passions that don’t resonate with our core values and beliefs creates a disruptive state of internal conflict on the deepest level. In the presence of such inner confusion we can never experience true happiness or satisfaction.  Instead, inner disharmony robs us of our sense of inner peace and happiness, and can leave us feeling dissatisfied for no apparent reason.

A hidden cause of personal dissatisfaction

When we desire something in life, there is a tendency to excuse behavior that conflicts with our deep down sense of right and wrong.  When this happens it’s easy to minimize the situation by telling ourselves it’s just a little thing that doesn’t really matter. Even if we don’t know we are doing it on a conscious level, there is still a price to pay.

The problem is, on a deeper emotional level, we have created an internal battleground.  If we allow ourselves to continue without correcting the problem, sooner or later that internal conflict will undermine our efforts and we will be forced to compensate in some way.

While working with coaching clients from all over the world I have repeatedly found this scenario to be a hidden cause of unhappiness and self sabotaging behavior. So, how do we correct the situation and restore a sense of inner balance?

Using our power of choice

It is important to remember that we always have a choice.  The same life skills that allow you to assign a positive emotional value to any life experience also give you the power to devalue unwanted or inappropriate passions and desires.

Learning to do this consciously will make it possible for you to choose passions about that support your personal core values, and to reject those that offends those same values.

When you exercise your ability to choose what your passions and desires, you empower yourself to become the designer of your own life.

Your passions can be incredibly empowering

Learning to align your passions and desires with your core values and beliefs is incredibly empowering. It creates the foundation for a truly satisfying and fulfilling life that runs on positive energy and motivation. At the same time, it eliminates internal conflicts an self sabotaging behaviors.

In life, circumstances have a way of constantly changing.  Sometimes they will support our dreams and passions and sometimes they will challenge us.  The ability to live your passions while maintaining your core values and beliefs will allow you to meet those challenges without sacrificing your personal integrity. When your passions are in harmony with your values and beliefs, challenges can be met passionately without losing your sense of inner peace and harmony.

Do you have passions that conflict with your values?
How do you respond to such to such passions?
The lines are open!

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This short video (6 min.) explains why many people feel disappointed and
let down by life, and what it really takes to experience greater satisfaction.


  1. Annette Colby July 18, 2009 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    You make some great points. Within us all is a personal guiding system that tells us when we are making choices that are in harmony with our core reasons for being alive. Learning to listen to our gut feelings and inner sense about things makes it easier to know what to say “no” or “yes” to. Thanks for another great article!

    • Jonathan August 12, 2011 Reply

      Thanks Annette, I really appreciate your kind words of support.

  2. David Stevens August 12, 2011 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    Our ‘excuses’ are the killers. Easy to find an excuse to follow a specific ‘passion’ that you might not normally follow. We all have the power of choice however many fail to use it wisely or not at all. Your closing sentence sums it up nicely. Thank you.
    be good to yourself

    • Jonathan August 15, 2011 Reply

      Hey David, oh those excuses! It is amazing how creative we can be when it comes to inventing reasons not to do something. Imagine what could be accomplished if all that excuse energy was redirected in the pursuit of goals that actually support our values.

  3. Ken Wert August 13, 2011 Reply

    Way to go, Jonathan!

    You hit upon the great dilemma in life: our periodic incongruence of behavior to values.

    Just like you say, as we desire something that conflicts with our values, and pursue that desire anyway, a moral dissonance knocks at our sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

    Somewhere inside, even if the misaligned passion provides some pleasure, we know we are better than that and something inside us is weakened.

    The only thing to do is to follow your advice and realign our passions and desires with our values.

    Thanks for the awesome post, Jonathan!

    • Jonathan August 15, 2011 Reply

      Hi Ken, I especially liked this sentence: “Somewhere inside, even if the misaligned passion provides some pleasure, we know we are better than that and something inside us is weakened.” That is a keeper for sure!

  4. Sandra August 13, 2011 Reply

    These are important considerations, Jonathan. While there are no clear cut examples that come to mind, I do see how on a subtle level I let distractions rule me instead of my priorities, which are more in tune with my values. I wish everyone had the understanding you present here. It would help pacify the turmoil in the world.

    • Jonathan August 15, 2011 Reply

      Hi Sandra, sometimes the noise from all those distractions seem so loud that it’s hard to hear the call of our priorities. Finding a way to quiet the static is almost a matter of survival these days. Few people ever suspect that internal conflict can be a major source of friction and static because it happens on such a subtle level. But it is still very disruptive.

  5. marquita herald August 14, 2011 Reply

    I believe my head’s normally on pretty straight when it comes to keeping my desires and values in line – the only time I’ve been aware of faulty thinking is when things are momentarily in the toilet – I climb up on my personal pity pot and stew for awhile with a case of the “if only’s.” I realize though that when I’m stumbling today, it’s because of actions and decisions I made awhile back – so I try to always be looking forward to making things better tomorrow.

    • Jonathan August 15, 2011 Reply

      Nicely said Marquita, I think we all run through that scenario from time to time, so don’t feel like you are all alone. The important thing is that you have learned to recognize where it comes from, and to actually get out in front of it most of the time. That is highly commendable! I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome you to Advanced Life Skills and thank you for adding to the discussion.

  6. marc August 21, 2011 Reply

    Great post, Jonathan!

    I believe in the power of choice every day more and more. We can choose to be happy, to have a better life, etc, and life according that. To make a choice something for the long-term, making a habit of it, is the most powerful. For me, creating these habits is still my biggest challenge: building a habit in 1 week is easy, for 1 month is achievable and for 3 months requires more focus. To keep good habits for 6/12/24 months, is still a major challenge.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jonathan August 24, 2011 Reply

      Hi Marc, if it is any consolation, sticking to those positive habits over the long haul is a challenge for everyone. Things change, our schedule get rearranged, were face new challenges, it’s always something. As long as you keep readjusting yourself accordingly, you’ll keep those habits going.

  7. Yinks January 16, 2012 Reply

    Stumbling into your life changing articles has really got me thinking. I feel that I do not have a choice but to amend some of the areas I am deficient in. Thank you for your good work.

  8. Kevin September 4, 2012 Reply

    I sometimes have desires that conflict with my values, but what I stand for and why it is important in the grand scheme of things always plays in the back of my mind.

  9. Jamie September 6, 2012 Reply

    To me this article correlates to addictions too. An addiction is a desire which isn’t in line with who we really are inside. We just take the immediate pleasure over the long term satisfaction, thus compromising our integrity.

    I didn’t really think about them that way before reading this.

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