What Do Values Do for You in Relationships?

which values will you select

Relationships and Values Go Together Like Nothing Else


For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about values.  It’s not something to which I gave much thought until lately when I finally understood that values are the basis for my thoughts, behaviors and connection with others.

Values and Jobs

Have you ever started a new job and within a week or so knew you had made a mistake?  It happens to all of us.  We think we asked all the right questions, did enough research and understood the information we received.  Then —- bang —- the realization —- it’s not right.   Most often, we stay on the job.  Who wants to start that whole job hunting process again?  Letters, resumes, interviews, networking – who wants to start all over again?  What went wrong? 

For me, I know – I didn’t ask enough questions about the “culture” of the organization.  I didn’t dig deep enough during the face-to-face interviews – a job was a job was a job – money coming into my account – that’s what I was focused on.  Why?  I had no idea how critical understanding my values were in my employer/employee relationship.

Can you relate?

55% of the people in America are unhappy in their work, 36% in Canada.  Do you think that number could be reversed if everyone understood their values, found employers which matched those values and lived and worked accordingly?

Values & Friendships

How about friends?  Before we invest a lot of time into our new friendships, do we know enough to expend the time necessary to get to know someone?  Often, friends come from family connections or partner relationships.  They’re not the friends we would necessarily choose but we spend a lot of time with them.  Or they are elementary, high school or university friends we think we must keep.

Since there is only so much time to spend with friends, shouldn’t we be more selective?  We should.  We generally aren’t.  Then we wonder why we feel hurt or discounted or uneasy in their presence.  Their values likely don’t mirror our own. 

For instance, one person I once knew was a great guy in so many ways.  But one thing really affected our relationship – he thought nothing of having multiple intimate relationships at any one time without telling the truth to those women.  It was so far removed from my value base of loyalty that eventually I simply couldn’t tolerate being around him because I felt like an unwilling co-conspirator!  What he did didn’t affect me directly but the impact, nonetheless, existed.  I felt as though I was lying every time he brought a new person into the picture while his “steady” trusted him.

Values and Family

And then there are complicated family dynamics.   Many believe that family is everything and will tolerate most everything to “keep the family together”.  Is that wise?  To some, it is because they have been taught that family is everything.  In a new city, knowing no one, I discovered that one can create a “family by design”.  So many people in cities have found the same thing – surrounding oneself with people who “fit”.  Some people I know spend the holidays with these friends and rarely, if ever, attend immediate family gatherings.  They’ve chosen to spend time with those they really like and care for.

Is that something you think would work for you too?

It’s not about weathering the little hurts that come with all relationships .  It’s about spending time with people who connect with your values and feeling relaxed and connected in their presence.

Does that ring right with you?  Can you start seeing how critical understanding your values and your definition of those values are?  Do you think it’s worth spending time understanding yourself better through your values?

Values and Self-Esteem

You’ll be amazed how it helps your self esteem.  Self-esteem is what you think of yourself – if you value your values, you value yourself – what a great way to start building that self-esteem if you have a problem in that area.  For all of us, it’s a great way to shake off the past and begin anew, on a path which will satisfy us. 

Choose Yours

Have you chosen your personal and work values?  Have you defined them?  What do they look like in real life – your life?  Do you think it’s important to live a “life by design”, your design? Are you afraid of what you might have to give up to create that life?  Instead, think of what you’ll gain.  Can you do it?  Yes, you can!

Lorraine Arams


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