(31) The Values of Behavior

Ever wondered what behavior was all about? In The Values of Behavior, we explore Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) through the relational structure of ValuesNarrativeBehavior, the guiding philosophy taught at Life Weavings through therapy and coaching. Challenging the usual understanding of behavior, a conscious reaction to a situation, we’ll be looking at how our actions, in consideration of the nature of our predictive brains and our deep need to construct a reality, work for us and makes sense. 

Values are the Foundation of Behavior

Values are the foundation of every behavior, yet each action does not represent a specific value. Excelling in business for one person may support the value of (financial) freedom, for another, it may be for power or control. Caring for an elderly family member satisfies the value of duty for one person and compassion for another. Understanding the value that drives each action allows you the freedom to explore if there may be another way to better support the life you want to live.


Within any response to a situation, we are always engaged in supporting what we care about, in other words, our values. This is important to recognize as we often become focused on our behavior and lose sight of the value we want to support. To use an ACT term this fusion blinds us to the possibility that we can express what is important to us in many different ways. When we focus on what we value the variety of possible actions we can choose from to accomplish our goal.

To reach your goal you will need to first identify what you value. What experience do you want to have by reaching your goal? Then you need to create new habits that support a lifestyle that makes that experience inevitable. You don’t have to focus on losing weight if you have a daily practice of movement and good eating.

It is the same, for example, if you want to change a habit of yelling when angry. You can learn to monitor your frustration level so that you make changes before exploding. You identify the value that is not being met and look at alternatives ways to satisfy that particular value. In the process, you discover that there are many ways of dealing with any circumstance. It always comes back to the value of behavior.