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Behavior Transformation: Values and Purpose by Keith Kurlander, MA, LPC

The Field of Axiology is the study of values which dates back to the Greek period of philosophy which delves more into the realm of ethical values of society as well as aesthetics and how does a person categorize something as beautiful or ugly.

In certain aspects in our lives we enumerate things according to the level of importance in our life. Things on the top of your list are the most important things where there is no need for external motivators to do compared to those in the bottom of the list which are of low value and requires getting dragged or pushed to get done. The person next to you values things differently no matter what and this is something that is unique to every individual.

Things of higher value or are most important in our lives are branded as the thing that is emptiest place within ourselves which we need to fulfill. You cannot feel low worth in those moments as you feel the actualization of your self-worth.

Self-esteem is a comparative game which is an inflated sense of self which makes us believe that what’s important to us is of higher values than of others. Although this is something that also brings us down as we eventually compare yourself to another person’s values putting their achievements in priorities on a pedestal which creates a low self-esteem on ourselves.


The discussion of values comes from a little-known term called the field of axiology. It’s a little-known term that was way more known, actually in the field of psychiatry about 50 years ago. axiology very simply as the study of values, classical inquiries go very far back to Greek philosophy and that’s more into the realm of ethics, what’s ethical, what’s an ethical value in society? Also, aesthetics, how does an individual categorized as something as beautiful or ugly to them?

At the top is the thing that’s most important in your life. It’s the thing that no one would ever have to twist your arm to do. You would get out of bed in the morning and you’d go do it because it’s the most important thing to you. So that’s the highest value at the bottom is your lowest value, it’s the thing that you would literally have to be dragged to get to do it, and you really don’t want to do it. Now, this list is extensive in your mind, because there’s so many values, there’s so much in your value structure, there’s so many different values that are getting operational in the world at all times. So, because this list is so extensive and probably moving towards an infinite amount of values, if we get into deep detail, minutia no one in this room has the exact blueprint as the person sitting next to you. The person sitting next to you value something, different than you do, no matter what. And your unique blueprint is like your DNA. It’s you, it’s only you, no one will ever share it.

So where do values come from? Where is that most important thing coming from that you would get out of bed for? Well, it comes from the thing that you perceive as most missing inside of you. The thing that’s most important to us to fulfill is the thing that we need to fulfill inside of us the most because it’s the empty is place.

Self-worth is felt when you’re actualizing, your highest value. You cannot be actualizing what’s most important to you, in that moment that you are expressing what’s most important to you, and you’re going after it, you cannot feel low worth in that moment because it’s the thing that you derive the most value out of. High self-esteem isn’t inflated sense of self.  When we get into an inflated sense of self, we believe our values and what’s important to us is better than the people around us. This is all comparison game self-esteem. Now what comes up must go down, because eventually, you’re going to compare yourself to another person’s values that you’re going to put on a pedestal, if you’re in the self-esteem game, and go, “Oh my god, I’m not doing what they’re doing. I wish I was further along”. That’s the, that’s the key thought, I wish I was like them or further along or, you know, in my life, that’s the key thought right there. And now you’re taking in their values into yourself and now you’re going into low self-esteem, and this is just an important concept to hold.

When we are in congruency with our highest values, which means that when we are acting on our highest values, we’re in accordance with them. When all those lower values are linked to them to a high degree. We’re really in a high level of executive functioning. So, we’re in a high level of self-regulation, we have a high level of attention, we’re focused, we have a high level of inhibition. So inhibitiatory processes in the brain and a high level most importantly of strategic planning. The key to behavior changes that behavior is most adaptable, disciplined, strategic, flexible, spontaneous, and easiest to modify in pursuit of your purpose. Because it’s the thing you must care about. So, you’d be willing to go after it.