What’s more important?
What’s more important to you?
Kindness or Generosity
Faith or Patience
Determination or Courage
Compassion or Gratitude
Honesty or Forgiveness
Hard to pick, right?
The reality is that regardless of how great and important you think all these values are, you choose to prioritize some values over others every single day… often without even thinking about it.
The values you choose determine how you make important decisions in your life.
It influences whether you give money to a homeless person (generosity) vs. whether you don’t (self-reliance).
It influences whether you spend your money on cool experiences with people you love (loyalty), on things you really want (affluence), or you give it to charity (compassion).
It influences whether you are quick to apologize (forgiveness) or whether you occasionally hold a grudge (justice).
None of these values are inherently good or bad. And none of the above examples are right or wrong choices.
Each of these values is important to create the diverse, beautiful, and fascinating world we live in.
These values also shape your character, your beliefs, your choices, and your destiny.
Our shared values are what bind us to the people we love most… so much so that when our values change, often times our social circles change as well.
Ever notice when a single friend gets married, they often stop spending time with their single friends? It’s not because they don’t care about their friends anymore… it’s because they’ve had a change of values. Suddenly family, love and commitment take a priority over freedom, play and opportunity.
Do you know your core values?
I’m amazed at how many people — especially couples — go throughout life without knowing what their core values are… they don’t even talk about it!
The very thing that binds people together goes completely unacknowledged.
When you know your values, you make more informed and inspired decisions in your life… especially hard decisions.
Your core values make it simple to decide whether or not to take the promotion. Whether or not to have kids. Whether or not to move to a new city. Whether or not to get married. Whether or not to buy a house, or continue renting.
When you know your partner’s values, you get a window into their soul.
It’s like having a cheat sheet for their heart.
Knowing their values helps you understand the motivations behind their words, actions, and the things they get passionate and emotional about.
If they highly value equality, they may get really angry when they witness a social injustice.
If they value faith, they may be really hurt when they hear someone curse God, or speak unkindly of their religion.
If they value gratitude, they may become disenchanted and worn out if they don’t receive words of appreciation regularly.
Knowing your partner’s values will make you an incredible companion… the kind that understands, lifts, and inspires their partner to be their best self.
Your values are contagious!
My favorite thing about values is that they are contagious.
A few weeks ago I worked out at the gym next to a friend of mine who is a complete workhorse. He attacked the workout like a bat out of hell.
His drive and ferocity inspired me to work harder, move faster, and take shorter rests.
His value of work ethic elevated my game.
Here’s another example…
Have you ever been in a situation where you were watching someone get bullied or publicly embarrassed? Maybe some people in the crowd were chuckling or outright laughing at the person being targeted. Maybe you even caught yourself laughing along.
Then somebody stands up and says, “Stop! This isn’t ok. Leave them alone.”
Other people start to speak up and defend the victim, break up the fight, or stop the bullying.
One person standing up for the value of kindness or equality will elevate the values of those around them.
When you live your values fully, you cause other people to rise to the occasion.
I invite you to spend some time this week and think about your core values. What are they? Why are they important to you? What experiences have fostered these values and shaped you into the person you are today? What are the values you share with the people/person you love most? How have those values impacted your relationship?
I’d love your responses in the comments.
If you want help identifying your values, check out the Rivets Card Game designed by David York (the guest from the podcast embedded at the top of this post). I’ve played it and it was an amazing experience that taught me a lot about myself and my relationship.
Latest posts by Nate Bagley (see all)
- Why We Apologize - December 28, 2016
- S01 E02 – Michelle Peterson from #StayMarried - December 15, 2016
- S02 E01 – Jennifer Finlayson-Fife: Virtue, Passion, and Owning Your Desire - November 28, 2016