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Why Matching Values Are Important For Your Relationships

Bee on flowerPHIL: It’s hard for me to know what I want and how I feel because I, like most people, conform to fit in. It’s how to be accepted, to be one of the group. It stems from when being ostracized by the tribe probably meant dying in the wilderness.

We copy each other in innumerable ways. Fashion, whether in clothes, cars or furniture, would not exist without imitation. We moderate our behavior, too, through social graces: we keep critical thoughts unspoken, we follow the laws and customs of society.

We tend not to notice this conformity because we see ourselves as stalwart individuals in control of our own destinies.

Another reason we may be reluctant to acknowledge our feelings is the fear that we may have the potential for both good and bad within us. Murder, sexual assault and theft still exist today within some people at least; how do we know that exploring our desires will not unearth those same dark passions within ourselves?

So for all of these reasons, it is often a challenge to be in touch with what you feel through the fog of social expectations, and yet this is where the authentic self resides.

To get there, you have to go deep. You have to know what you want and why you want it, and what the feeling behind that is, and so on.

It’s not always easy to see your own motives. Do you want a career as a lawyer because your family sees it as a high-status career? Because you are passionate about justice? Because it will pay well? Because it will get you out of your present situation? Look for when the words and the feelings line up. It may not be the immutable truth for all time, but it is your truth in the present.

These underlying positions are your core values. They may be pragmatic, like a career or a lifestyle. They may go deeper and be part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They may evolve as you journey through life, change goals and gain wisdom.

You need to share these deep aspects of yourself in your relationships more than anywhere else for a number of reasons.

  • Sharing your wants and feelings is very personal. It makes you vulnerable, it is an act of intimacy, it is how people bond and understand each other.
  • Relationships are built on trust, and that needs an understanding of peoples’ motives. If your partner discovers some subterranean aspect of you years into the relationship, it can cast doubt on everything they thought was assured.
  • Ignoring what you want and responding according to your partner’s expectations doesn’t work. Every time that happens, you lose a little bit of yourself and end up not knowing who you are.
  • If your core values don’t match, the relationship is on very shaky foundations. Maybe you disagree on having children. Perhaps one of you believes that life is a struggle for resources and the other believes that sharing is good. Maybe you are of different faiths and teaching your child in your faith is important. Disagreements like these will be a constant irritant.

When your core values match, you have the foundations for a wonderful relationship. This is how two people fit together. There is no need for conflict because surface disagreements can always be resolved by finding what you have in common and constructing a solution from that.

MAUDE: What are the most important things we base our decisions and interactions on? What is most vital at the core of all our relationships? The answer is the same: the meanings and values we choose, exhibit in our actions and choices and base our relationships on. These are our core values, the deeply felt truths arising from our innermost being, and they become the principles that we live by.

Globally, we are in many ways at a crossroads on the path toward common values. Will we choose a path of love and consideration of the good of the whole in relation to our personal good? Can we find a way to support and protect individual freedom without putting it before the well-being of others? Can we find a way to express healthy acceptance of diversity and difference?

The perfect storm of the pandemic, coupled with global warming and the divisive political situations around the world offers us a stark stage upon which to reexamine and reconnect to our values, and to find creative methods to share them and spread them to a world sorely needing love and peace to manifest in people’s lives.

The pandemic is creating new ways of doing just about everything. This offers a great opportunity to infuse each of our actions with the values we wish to spread. We are all learning just how important our relationships with loved ones, family, friends and community are.

These are some of the challenges we all stand before in these tumultuous and transformative times. Phil and I feel that the cornerstone of change rests within each of us and the relationships we have and that peace can be attained and spread through those very relationships, the core values we base them on, and the art of finding mutual solutions.

To do this, it is important to get in touch with what your individual core values are, and how you reflect those values in your relationships with others. Take a deep look at them. Bring them forth into your daily consciousness and shine your light on them. Do these still really express what you feel are your chosen meanings and values? Do they need adjustment or expansion to resonate with today’s changing situation?

We can all be agents of change and peace. We each have a unique possibility to add our voice to the chorus. We enjoin you to be active in spreading peace one relationship at a time.

Photo credit: Maude Mayes

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Join Us for our Coming Online Workshop

One of the great opportunities provided to us by the new situation is that physical distances no longer play a role in what we can participate in together. We look forward to seeing you at our coming workshop. This will be a Zoom meeting and the timezone is Pacific Daylight Time.

In this workshop, we are teaching:
  • How to honor individuality within relationships
  • How to transform your relationships through radical acceptance
  • How to avoid the pitfalls that create separation and estrangement
  • How to find mutual solutions to decision making and problem-solving
There will be breakouts where you will be working with each other in separate meeting rooms and an open question and answer session at the end. Participation is limited, so reserve your spot now. Suggested donation is $10. Click here to register. We will email further instructions after registration.

Flyer for workshop

Successful Relationship Reading Corner

BookshelfIn this week's blog, we wrote about why matching values are important for your relationships. These articles cover a wide spectrum of ways to look at values.

What Should You Look For In A Partner? Here's How To Figure Out Your Core Values In Relationships, According To Experts "As we each navigate the ups-and-downs of our love lives — from meet-cute to breakup and back again — we're constantly learning more about ourselves, what we want in life, and what we value in relationships. Over time, everyone develops their own unique set of core values: fundamental beliefs that influence how we conduct ourselves in all aspects of life, including our romantic relationships."

Love and Values "Acting on feelings no doubt got you into a love relationship. Continuing to act on feelings will almost certainly get you out of it... On a routine basis, feelings are about temporary variations in comfort, convenience, pleasure, and status. Values, on the other hand, are stable over time and ultimately supported by a sense of character. While feelings create temporary importance, values give enduring meaning and purpose to life. Feelings may forge committed relationships, but values sustain them. The power of love comes not from its feelings but its values."

Value (ethics) "Values relate to the norms of a culture, but they are more global and intellectual than norms. Norms provide rules for behavior in specific situations, while values identify what should be judged as good or evil. While norms are standards, patterns, rules and guides of expected behavior, values are abstract concepts of what is important and worthwhile. Flying the national flag on a holiday is a norm, but it reflects the value of patriotism. Wearing dark clothing and appearing solemn are normative behaviors to manifest respect at a funeral. Different cultures represent values differently and to different levels of emphasis"


Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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