As living human beings, we all have our beliefs, morals and values that we adhere to. These are the things that are important to us and are the catalyst for how we live our lives. It helps us to set our goals, wishes and wants for the future. When we are living life in a way that aligns with our values, we usually feel that life is good, and things are going to plan. What happens though if the things we are doing or the people that are close to us are not reflecting these values?
It is important to understand that no one can tell you what your values are. We are all different and think and feel differently. Someone else cannot tell you what should be important to you. You feel how you feel. While it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, it is equally important that these feelings are not harmful to those around you. The majority of people that do harmful things, do not intend to do harmful things and these are often followed by feelings of remorse. Where does this behaviour come from? It could be a case of anxiety, depression or more often than not, they themselves have been harmed in a similar way in the past. Their self-worth is low and they don’t believe they are deserving to live the life they wish they could live.
We have spoken in a previous article about The Importance of an equal relationship. This is where both parties feel fulfilled and happy within their relationship because they feel they are being respected. A large element of this, is respecting their values. If a couple do not share the same values, the relationship is unlikely to be equal. If a partner doesn't agree with a set of values, they will most likely try and convince the other party that their value system is wrong. They will try to change the person by using power and control to reflect their own values. They feel in their mind that their values are right and enforce this within the relationship. In the same way an relationship should be equal, the values of both parties need to align as well. The people around us and the relationships we have with them make a significant impact on our own self values. The values we hold in our relationships must also reflect our own values, or this is where problems can start.
One of the biggest elements of a relationship is trust, and one of the most important values is faithfulness. Being faithful is not just being monogamous, it means that you are trusting someone with your feelings. You are giving them your heart and they are giving theirs. You need to put each other first and making sure that not only you are happy, but your partner is as well. It is important to have a discussion with your partner at some point early in the relationship, to define what faithfulness means to you. While one person may be ok with certain things, the other person may not be. You need to be on the same page.
One thing a lot of people get confused by is thinking that relationship values are the same as common interests. Having different interests doesn’t mean you have different values. The values are what you think are important for you as a couple to live your life authentically and most of all feel fulfilled and happy. Your values help you to set your boundaries. What are you prepared to accept in your relationship? Have you set boundaries in your relationship? Your partner won’t necessarily know what is acceptable if these boundaries are not set. If there are certain behaviours that you think are wrong or harmful, have you expressed this to your partner? If you haven’t set your boundaries or looked at what values you want in a relationship, how will you know if something is right or wrong? At what point would action need to take place which may mean having to leave the relationship if there was harm involved?
While it is important to share the same relationship values, it is equally important that this is reflective of your own values as well. Do you feel like you are being heard? Do you feel like you are appreciated? Do you feel your relationship reflects your personal values? Your self-values are an expression of what you feel is important for you to live a happy and fulfilling life. If you have low self-esteem, you may not think that you deserve to be happy, but the reality is that you do deserve it. The values that we hold as individuals come from a variety of sources. Family, friends, life experiences, education, life events such as death, divorce, being in an accident, health issues, suffering abuse etc. It is important for you to have an awareness of what it is that you value and what is important for you in your relationship with partners, friends, co-workers and family.
As an example, you may put health as one of your core values. Someone who values health would normally be on a balanced diet and exercise and just generally making choices that are beneficial to their health. So what if you say one of your core values is health but your behaviour is not reflecting this? Instead of looking after yourself, you make poor choices with food. You aren’t exercising and perhaps use drugs and alcohol excessively. You are not living a life that is consistent with your values. You are disconnected. This is when you need to take a step back and ask yourself ‘Is this acceptable?’. This is where a lot of self-reflection is needed in order to make a change.
Write down your 5 core values as a person. Now write down your 5 core values for a relationship. Look deep within yourself and ask ‘Am I living my life according to my values?’ “Is it time for a change?’
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but accepting that you need change is the first step. It is also not as easy as just saying you will change. You have to want to do it, and you will likely need help and support from those around you. You deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life. There is no better time than the present.
If you feel like you need help in this area, contact us today.
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