Oftentimes, partners and relationships are first on an individuals list of values, as if their some supreme god. Although meaningful and important, a top value should never be a person, place, or a thing.
Values are a critical component in our lives, motivating and dictating all behavior. Values influence ethical behavior, as well as personal passions and beliefs. They create boundaries– informing others how we’d like to be treated and what we won’t accept.
What is most important to you, says a lot about you. For example, if compassion is a high value of yours, its likely you’re an understanding, giving, and healthy person. Perhaps, this has influenced your career path or ability to create meaningful relationships.
However, if you value something that’s not measurable, such as a person or a thing, you’re treading deep waters. When a value is externally based– it’s subject to change, meaning you lost free will of the outcome. You can’t control people or situations…only how you respond to them, but if control over that value is lost, whatever you lost it to, now holds the power.
People can hurt and betray you. If they’re at the top of your list of values, then what do you do? Values give our life meaning and your number one just shattered into a million pieces.
One betrays the self when choosing unhealthy values, creating a destructive mess. If respect is high on the list, and someone disrespects you, its likely you’d cut them out of your life (assuming it’s appropriate given the situation.)
However, if you value respect just as much as a partner, what happens if they profoundly disrespect you? Let’s say they committed an act of infidelity. Since both values are just as important, what do you do?
You might accept the mistreatment and later feel ashamed, because you trashed a significant value. What did it ever do to you?! Conflicting values become problems in several aspects of your life.
A person, place, or thing isn’t maintainable, as opposed to dignity, security, or respect. It’s also important that such values aren’t measured by people, places, or things.
If you allow your dignity or respect to be betrayed by an individual, those are wavering values. I understand people will challenge your values. Naturally, you may be disrespected or hurt by the actions of another, but this doesn’t mean those values should be called into question.
If people are valued above everything, they’re given power to dictate your life. It should be yours and yours only.
Own your values.
What are your top five values?
How do you measure those values?
-Jessica Bruno LMHC