What Are Core Values, and What Are Yours? Part II

MAUDE: We started a two-part blog on core values last week. In this second installment, Phil and I want to share with you our personal meanings and values – what they are for each of us. I have thought about this and looked to see if there are answers to this critical topic that I haven’t shared with you in the past.

We have covered many aspects of this both in our blogs and in our latest book, “How Two: Have a Successful Relationship”. Lately I find myself looking for the underlying or bedrock understandings that are the root of whatever I am discussing.

That is the approach that I have taken in looking afresh at my own meanings and values as they concern our relationship, and my relationships in general. At the center of what supports our togetherness is the experience of union.

This is a union based on the deep understanding that we are truly on the same side; one which is formed by mutual support, caring and love, and is the place from which all our actions originate.

This place is where we understand our relatedness and experience the strength and peace which comes from a mutual merged self. Staying in touch with this truth creates two very strong individuals who feel free and confident to act in the world as separate people, and who always experience the strength of that separateness through the union that supports it.

When people become estranged, it is often because they have switched into acting and believing that the separate part of their nature is the only part that exists in their relationship. They have misplaced or forgotten perhaps the very thing that makes them a couple, the union.

So when I think of my core values, I put the knowledge of the depth of our union first. We believe in supporting each other. We believe in each other. We want the best for each other at all times, and know that we both feel this way. We are committed to sharing our selves with the other and being fully present so we can. All actions and behaviors are seen in this light, as this is our truth. So if any of our actions seem different, we will always be able to get to the core and find mutuality, for we know that this is our deepest commitment: we are fully there for each other.

At the center of what supports togetherness is the experience of union #love #relationships #quote Click To TweetPHIL: It’s hard to write about core values in crisp, black-and-white words because of the order in which we came to realize this. It was as a result of getting on so well and then looking at the reasons that we saw that holding the same underlying values was a part of this. But knowing what those values are for me is not obvious, because they don’t exist as words, but as comforts or discomforts about the world, and they only become visible through my actions and reactions to events in the world, whether they be sunsets, elections, or arguments with a neighbor.

Fairness is very important. I remember some patently unfair treatment from a teacher at school; more accurately, I can remember the strong feeling of indignation, while having no recall of the details of what happened. Empathy is another. If we don’t have it, we are all sociopaths.

Yet such high ideals are in a way, at odds with the selfish aspect of self. I regularly walk past the homeless on State St. without acting from fairness and empathy.

As for measuring your compatibility with someone else, words don’t count, only behavior does, and it takes time and adversity before you can see another person’s values in action.

I can easily imagine that other people have different core values. In “The Righteous Mind“, Jonathan Haidt identifies five moral foundations. Fairness and caring are mainly held by liberals, while loyalty, authority and sanctity are conservative values.

Then there are ways that people want to live their life that are very important to them. Whether to have children, whether to live rurally or in a city, their sexual orientation, their bedroom kinks, their attitude towards money; any of these and more can be deal-breakers for a relationship.

All of this requires that you know yourself, and can distinguish what you want from the expectations of people you know and society at large. I think artists (in the broad sense of the term) are less constrained by these expectations, but for me, it’s a life-long process to find my voice and yet honor my place in society.

We would love to hear your own personal stories of core values and how they play a role in your relationships. Please share your comments below!

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  1. […] From the toilet seat and toothpaste to finances and child-rearing, what our partner does affects us. Some of these are vitally important to both people, so you both have to find mutual solutions for these decisions. That’s what core values are about – we wrote about these recently here and here. […]

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