It’s not a matter of which values are right or wring. One is not going to impose any values on you. It’s important to learn what your values are so you will be able to direct, motivate, and support yourself at the deepest level. We all have a supreme value, the one thing we most desire from any situation, whether it’s a relationship or a job. It may be freedom, it may be love, it may be excitement, or it may be security. You probably read that list and said to yourself. Most of us from a friendship is ecstasy; another, love; a third, honest communication; a fourth, a sense of security. Most people are totally unaware of their hierarchies or those of their loved ones. They have a vague sense of wanting love, or challenge, or ecstasy, but they don’t have a sense of how these pieces fit together. These distinctions are absolutely critical. They determine whether or not a person’s ultimate needs will be met. You can’t fill someone else’s needs if you don’t know what they are. You can’t help someone do the same for you, and you can’t deal with your own conflicting values, until you understand the hierarchies in which they are interacting. The first key to understanding is to elicit them.
How do you discover your own or someone else’s hierarchy of values? First, you need to place a frame around the values you are looking for. That is, you need to, elicit them in a specific context. They are compartmentalized. We often have different values for work, relationships, or family. You must ask, what’s most important to you about a personal relationship? The person might answer the feelings of support. Then you might ask, what’s important about support? He might respond, It shows that someone loves me. You might ask, what’s most important about someone loving you? He might answer it creates feelings of joy for me. By continuing to ask over and over again, what’s most important? You begin to develop a list of values.
Then, to have a clear understanding of someone’s hierarchy of values, all you need to do is take this list of words and compare them. Ask, which is more important to you? Being supported or feeling joy? If the answer is, Feeling joy, then obviously it is higher in the hierarchy of values. Next you would ask, which is more important to you, feeling joy or being loved? If the answer is, Feeling joy, then of those three values, joy is number one. You then ask, which is more important to you? Feeling loved or being supported? The person may look quizzically at you and respond, well, they are both important. You reply, but which is more important, that someone loves you or that someone supports you? He may say well it’s more important that someone loves me. So now you know the second highest value behind joy would be love, and the third would be support. You can do this with any size of a list to understand what’s, most important to a person and the relative weight of other values. The person in this example can still feel strongly about a relationship, even if he doesn’t feel supported. Another person, however, may put support over love (which you may be surprised to find many people do). That person won’t believe someone loves him unless she supports him, and it won’t be enough for him to feel loved if he doesn’t feel supported.
People have certain values that when violated cause them to leave a relationship. For example, if support is number one on person’s value list, but he doesn’t feel supported, he may end the relationship. Someone else who ranks support as third or fourth or fifth, and love as first, won’t leave the relationship no matter what happens as long as he feels loved
I’m sure you could up with several things that matter to you in an intimate relationship. Listed are some important things below:
—- Mutual communication
—- Spiritual unity
These are by no means all the important values there are. You may find many other values more important than the ones listed here. If you can think of some, jot them down now.
Now rank these values in order of importance, with number one as the most important and number fourteen as the least important.