How Important Are Your Wants And Needs Compared To Your Core Values?

How Important Are Your Wants And Needs Compared To Your Core Values?

What do you do when disagreements arise in a relationship? There will be times when it appears you and your partner are at odds.

  • We get along great, but I don’t do well with the step-kids.
  • I am passionate about my field and want to do a Ph.D. in it. A prestigious foreign university offered me a scholarship, but my partner has just been promoted and doesn’t want to move.
  • My partner is a slob; they leave dishes in the sink and clothes all over the bedroom.
  • I can’t stand it when my partner spends without regard to the budget we’ve agreed on.

Some of these desires are material: where you live, what your physical needs are, how important possessions are to you. Others are emotional, to use the term broadly. What is your balance of privacy and connection? What are your expectations of support? What do your religious/spiritual beliefs call for? The difference is between needs and values. Wants and needs are worldly, while values form the basis for how you interact with the world.

These wants and values lie on a spectrum of importance, some being more subject to change and some that rank higher and are less likely to change, and you don’t always have a sense of which are the important ones when you are caught up in a moment of passionate feelings. Social pressures to conform and copy other people can also distort your personal view of what is important to you.

These make it hard to see what you want for yourself. It takes quiet contemplation to do this. It is important because when you act according to your inner sense of what is right, you feel grounded, real, authentic.

The deep core values are what you base your life choices on and they determine how you live your life. They are felt, not thought, and are moral and ethical in nature, arising from your basic spiritual perceptions. These are better expressed in a sentence like “All people are related and I will treat them as family,” rather than a single word like truth or loyalty.

Understanding these deep core values is a vital part of practicing the path to successful relationships. Knowing your fundamental values grounds you in this world and helps you find and maintain relationships with matching values that will create peace in your life.

Wants and needs are worldly, while values form the basis for how you interact with the world #quote Share on XIt is also of great help to your relationships to have a good understanding of your wants and needs.

People often think they go well together because their wants seem to match – “We are great together, we want the same things.” If these similar wants don’t reflect matching values, those wants won’t turn out to be fulfilling, as the values underlying them are actually different.

When your wants differ from those of your partner, it can cause problems, depending on how important they are to each of you. The reaction can range from “I could let that go” to “that offends everything I believe in.” It is not always easy to recognize which are which.

Sometimes it is possible to understand the want or need in terms of a deeper want that underlies it to such an extent that you can alter the specifics of how you can satisfy that want, which can lead to a path of mutual solutions.

Wants can be substituted and satisfied in this way, but values are not so amenable. That is why matching core values is so important. When the values match, the method of their expression can often be quite varied without causing problems. Matching core values underlie the ability to practice acceptance of individuality and the varied way people can express their values.

We are developing a course on our practice, and core values will be the first part of the course. If this is something you are interested in pursuing, please contact us. We are looking for a small group to take part in a pilot program and help us shape this part of the course.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes

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8 Comments on “How Important Are Your Wants And Needs Compared To Your Core Values?

  1. General reflection here …values change over time… when presented with unexpected circumstances…such as during crises. One can do coping behavior at one stage or life, then wish to do planning behavior at another stage of life. Congratulations to those who have worked through life changes in partnership with another.

    • Thank you, Joy. It is rare that your true foundational values change – the expression of those values changes. Wants and needs are an entirely different story and even the deep ones change over time as well as their expression. Be well! Maude

      • Thank you for clarifying, Maude. Then I will say that sometimes we do not discover how deeply we hold certain values until there is extreme pressure, such as a huge and long-term crisis. At this time, we may even surprise ourselves how deeply held that value is…and I do not expect someone else to subscribe to that value at such a level..

        • indeed, it is the expectations we place on others to be the same as we are that is often at the root of problems
          be well

  2. Thank you for your wonderful, insightful, brilliant newsletters,
    both Phil and You are ever-expanding our consciousness and values.
    with much gratitude and appreciation,
    and Aloha

    • Dearest Roswitha,
      We are humbled by your comment.
      thank you
      so glad you are receiving inspiration,
      be well

  3. Aloha

    Mahalo for sharing how to distinguish between Needa & Core Values. It somehow gets blurred when in the ethers of a relationship, especially at the beginning.
    Keep Smiling
    Gylian Solay

    • Hi Gylian.
      so glad this was of help to you. I agree, just when we need to be most aware of those basic core values, we often get swept up by other responses!
      be well

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