Values are principles, standards or qualities that an individual or group of people hold in high regard. They are simply things that we find are important to us, others and the world at large. These values guide the way we live our lives and the decisions we make.
But values are born from beliefs and - if our beliefs are what we hold as true - then those truths lead us to things that we LIKE and things we DISLIKE, things that are GOOD and things that are BAD, according to our own version of life/the universe.
And, while many people share basic value systems that include treating others the way they would like to be treated (basically, don’t kill or hurt them, steal from them or ruffle their hair…), not all people’s versions look the same, and some are completely different.
There are many reasons why that may be and it could be easy to judge without having lived in the other person’s shoes. During our ‘imprint’ development period (roughly between the ages of 0 to 7) our brains are like sponges that absorb information from all sources around us, and our greatest influencers – our parents, guardians, siblings and teachers (not to mention TV, radio and literature) – will shape our view of this new world we have entered. One man’s treasure is another woman’s trash. One woman’s half-empty glass is another man’s full one. This makes the politician’s job almost set up to fail. In fact, I can’t help but be suspicious of any president that has almost unilateral support, considering many of their constituents would almost certainly have conflicting needs and values.
Imagine how useful it could be to know and understand our own values. How well might we be able to answer the question: who am I? Then how valuable (excuse the pun) would it be to know our spouse’s values or workmates or clients? How many arguments and misunderstandings might be avoided?
‘Congruency’ is a key term whenever discussing the relationship between what we WANT and what WE GET. In order for something to be congruent the thought and/or action has to agree with the direction of the goal. In other words, don’t go west if you want to head east. Going the opposite direction to where you would like to go is generally a waste of time! But this happens with most people most of the time. We say we want one thing but then act in the opposite manner to obtaining it. Countries make war with other countries for world peace; people eat chocolate when they want to lose weight; many keep their hearts to themselves when they want to find love.
If ‘happiness’ is the value you would like fulfilled then the belief cannot be I DON’T DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. That value is incongruent with the belief and is like a phone charger that is incompatible with the handset or the upside-down wings on the plane trying to take off. It won’t do what you were hoping it would. There is NO CHANCE that the value will be satisfied if it isn’t lined-up with the belief. NONE. NADA. ZILCH…
What happens with many people, for instance, is that they have a value of FINANCIAL WEALTH but also a belief that is something like ONLY PEOPLE FROM RICH BACKGROUNDS HAVE MONEY or RICH PEOPLE ARE NASTY or MAKING MONEY IS HARD. Until the initial belief is changed then the circuit will not be complete and the wished-for result/goal/dream will be unattainable. When it comes to a goal it is interesting to note how often the necessary congruent values needed to get there are not even in the person’s top ten list.
The great news is that beliefs CAN be changed and values upgraded, and that there are practitioners (such as me) who are trained to help you make that transformation. The basic ingredients in order to begin the transition though are a commitment to that change and also strong determination.
So, perhaps, ask yourself what your values are. What are my top thirty, forty, fifty values? Are they the ingredients needed for me to reach my goal? If not, what is missing?