A client recently had an interesting conundrum: The client was struggling with believing something she was doing in her relationship was not up to her standards, but she continued the behavior to satisfy someone else.
She was struggling with her value system. Many of us struggle with our value system because we haven’t addressed what we hold as our own personal standard.
We know what we believe, but we often allow our environment and circumstances to determine how closely we measure up to our own values.
Let’s look at what values are and how we can use them to help us on our journey toward healthy relationships.
From Wikipedia, “A personal value is an individual’s absolute or relative and ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based.”
Your personal value is how you determine your ethical standard. Your value system is a set of measures and your principle value is a foundation upon which all other values are based. For example, my principle value is based in Christianity and my personal relationship with God. All other values derive from this. This gives me a platform to build on.
If something doesn’t align with my faith, then it doesn’t align with my value system.
Whatever your platform of values is—use it as a baseline for all of your decisions and stick to it.My personal value is I’m going to treat others with kindness and respect and I expect to be treated the same way. Keep in mind, my principle value is Christianity.
Matthew 22: 36-40 (NIV) reads:
36 Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Since my baseline is to love your neighbor as yourself, then my personal value of treating others with kindness and respect falls in line with my foundational value.
My value system is:
- to respect the free will of others,
- date people with similar values,
- align myself with people of similar values and
- hold myself accountable to my foundational value.
The value system is a set of beliefs that remind us of consistency in what our standards look like. A great thing about consistency in your values is you give yourself a guideline to live by. For example, if I know I want to align myself with people of similar values, I can’t write for a publication which would have me write something that contradicts my value set.
It’s important to note, I used the example of Christianity as a foundation value, but it can be whatever your foundation is based on. It could be religion, respect, selflessness, or maybe even success. There is no limit to what you use as a baseline for your values.
Application and Execution
I spent a lot of this article explaining what our values are because they are so important. That said, it doesn’t matter what your values are if you don’t apply them in everyday life and execute to your standard.
You can apply them and say, for example, “I choose not to have sex before marriage.” If you say it, but then don’t execute it, you are selling yourself short. It’s your standard; no one created it for you.
Be who you say you are going to be by applying your values to your life. Execute the mission you set for yourself and two things will happen.
- The first thing is you will feel great about living up to the standards you set for yourself.
- The second thing is people will begin to respect your standards. Those who don’t respect your standards may leave since they didn’t share the same values and remained in constant conflict. The people who respect your standards will stay in your life for years to come.
Great relationships are built with people who have similar values and respect each other’s standards for living.
BMWK, what value system have you put in place?