Author Trevor Holmes

Part 2: Values

When and how are your values formed?

This blog is the second part of a three-part series on values. The first part looks at the difference between values and beliefs.

In summary from the last blog, your core beliefs and values, your highly valued criterion, as well as your beliefs and your attitudes, make up the foundations of your behaviour and the way that you act, or react, to the world around you.

This article looks at the way in which your values are arranged and why there is often value conflict in your life. Finally, the three stages of values formation, and where your values come from within each stage gives you an understanding of some of the influential people from which your values were formed.


Values are unconsciously arranged in your mind. As you evaluate your actions, you’re more important values are usually searched for first. After the more important values are found and satisfied, then the next most important ones become important.


Incongruities are usually the result of values conflicts. If you have internal values conflicts, you will display incongruence, i.e., “I want to do this, but…”.

If your values are not aligned with any changes you make, then typically the changes will regress.


Values are highly unconscious filters through which you filter your experience and produce behaviour in response to the world around you. There are values that are sources of power (like the ability to accomplish) and sources of determination (like free will). There are also values and beliefs about the way the world is in relationship to other people (like fairness). These combine to determine your behaviour.

Stages of Values Formation

There are three major periods that you will go through to form your values and your personality according to the sociologist Morris Massey.

The three major periods are the Imprint period, the Modelling period and the Socialisation period.

The Imprint Period

From birth until the age of 7 you are like a sponge. You pick up and store everything that goes on in your environment. You get your basic programming between the ages of 2 and 4. By the time you are age 4 most of your major programming has occurred.

There may be no memory of this as the learning processes you are going through during the imprint period are largely unconscious. During this time, you will unconsciously pick up on your parent’s behaviour.

The Modelling Period

According to Massey, the ages 8 to 13 are the modelling period. Between this age, you begin to consciously and unconsciously model basic behaviours. Before age 7 you are mostly unaware of any difference between yourself and your parents.

At age 8 you begin to notice that there are people outside yourself and through to age 13 you start to look at the goings on in the world. You notice the behaviour of friends and family, and you start to model them.

At this point, you start to develop heroes. Your major values about life are picked up between the ages of 8 and 13. Your values will be based on where you were and what was happening in the world around you when you were about 10 years old.

Socialisation Period

This period occurs through the years 14 to 21. You go through a period where social interaction begins with other people. As a young adult, this is when you pick up relationships and social values, most of which will be used through the rest of your life.

At age 21 your values formation is just about complete. At this point, core values do not change unless there is a significant emotional experience or other change work is done.

People change and grow, and your values may change over time. However, the values you start with, the basic core values which are formed from around the age of 10, are locked in at the age of 21.

Resolving Beliefs and Values Conflicts

Most problems that you experience in life are a result of beliefs or values conflicts inside of you. The first step to solving this is to elicit your beliefs and values. Once your values and beliefs are known to you, you can then go about the process of making simple changes so that you can achieve integration and congruency at the unconscious level.

If you have inner conflict in your life, this can be changed. Contact me for a confidential discussion.

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