This topic holds hidden power for each of us but I didn’t start to understand this until I was 29 that was 28 years ago and even then it took a while for the penny to drop.
Couples have reconnected based on them, people have stopped their suicide based on them, and people have come out of depression and anxiety using them.
I have even seen people come off lifelong medication by using the new understanding of their values.
I have personally run many four-hour sessions on understanding values to help people self-align with who they really are to stop their own suffering.
So little is understood about their own values yet they are the hidden key to so many of life’s challenges.
The reason they are so powerful is they are foundational to our identity and this creates our ability to be our true selves.
When people cannot be themselves for whatever reason life can feel emotionally exhausting.
Many people tell me they have good values. Some couples even tell me they share the same important values.
I then ask them what they are, I’m usually met with an uncomfortable silence because they don’t really know.
You see the reason I ask them is I can see what their core values are, but I can also see they are not living true to them, and this practice will lead them to suffer.
You see there is little point in thinking you are a “kind person” if what you do isn’t “kind” there is no point in thinking you are loving if being loving isn’t how you act.
The problem people don’t see is values are binary.
They are either on, or they are off, you can’t be “kind of trustworthy” you either are or you are not.
A person unaware of their values will be an out-of-control person so won’t be aware of this concept, they will switch their values on and off based on situations or how those around them act towards them.
So they are naturally powerless emotionally and unable to consistently commit to being themselves.
So can we tell our children it’s okay to be trustworthy occasionally?
Of course not, so if you are kind only when you feel like it, at an identity level who are you when you are not kind so not being yourself?
This is the problem everyone faces most have no idea what they value so they have no idea when they are being themselves or misrepresenting themselves.
If I’m not living true to my own values I’m going to live disconnected from being my true identity.
So they end up lost, living in the wrong identity too often which is emotionally painful for anyone.
Most people are inconsistent and reactive so they switch what they value on and off to suit the situation and then wonder why life isn’t working out, or why others see them as flaky.
Just so you know, it’s the people who keep disconnecting from their own values are the ones that suffer in life the most or bring pain to others.
People who have distorted relationships with themselves tend to be a big part of creating relationship patterns that don’t work.
In most marriages, the biggest problems are the individual’s relationship with themselves, they don’t know how to maintain values-integrity so they lose connection with themselves and their partner as a result.
If values are the engine of how a person experiences the world, not understanding this means they will live out of control and never be able to choose the feelings that matter.
When we live disconnected from our values we disconnect from our identity and who we are and when this happens we suffer.
We will then struggle to be good partners because if our relationship with ourselves is not working there is no way our relationship with others will work.