They say that you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep, but this belief is often misplaced. We look at someone and when they say that they’ve had girlfriends/a wife, go to church, are a cop, seemingly have friends, and can be the life and soul at a party, that it must mean that they’re a great catch. It’s a bit like – well if they have people around them that like them or have been involved with other people, it makes them desirable. This is the dating equivalent of ‘social proof’.
Ever wondered why so many women get involved with attached men? They take the fact that the man is attached as literal, social proof, that he is capable of being in a relationship and capable of commitment, forgetting that the act of cheating itself is indicative of a lack of commitment and poor relationship values.
When we find ourselves with someone who seems ‘good on paper, not so great in the flesh’, we wonder where we’ve gone wrong. We wonder why we see such a different side to them. We wonder how they can be nice to others but not nice to us, or why they have loved others, but not us. We wonder why they haven’t left yet, or have left, but are no more committed to you than they’ve been with others.
This confusion about why someone doesn’t want us/love us, ties in with the mistake of having conflicting ideas about value.
‘I’m a person of value that deserves to be treated well – why isn’t he treating me in this way?’
‘Why her and not me? What does he see in her when I’m the right person for him? Why can’t he see it?’
‘I’m a good woman. Why doesn’t he value me? Why is he throwing away my love?‘
You see the thing about value, is that it’s very much driven by you, so in actual fact, you can tell a lot about how much someone values themselves by the company that you keep (or chase).
If you claim to be someone of great value and then you hang with someone who treats you like low value goods and stick around to try to get them to see and treat you like higher value goods (i.e. teach them to learn to value you), it’s you who is changing your value, not them.
Your value is as good as how you treat yourself, the company you keep, the beliefs you hold, and the life you lead.
If you don’t treat yourself with love, care, trust, and respect, you hang out with people who in turn don’t treat you in this way, plus you continue to hold negative beliefs about yourself, love, and relationships, you will not only conduct your life accordingly and slot into the merry-go-round that is the self-fulfilling prophecy, but you will diminish your own value. You also need to get rid of the piece of paper and opt for substance in the flesh…
Hard as it may be to hear for some, part of the reason why we get involved with people who offer the least likely possibility of giving the very things that we profess to want and who require radical change, is that aside from having commitment issues, poor love habits, and dealing with an element of inadvertent sabotage, it’s also about inflating our own value .
Have low self esteem —> Attach yourself to someone who will need to make you the exception to their track record of not being a good relationship partner —> Invest yourself in this limited relationship and attempt to get a return on investment —> Hope that if you eventually get him to change and see you in the way that you want to be seen and valued that this will give you an enormous boost, and make you a valuable, validated person = value inflated.
It’s also: Have low self-esteem —> Choose dodgy partner —> You initially feel better about yourself as you’re distracted by their problems and apparent lack of greatness = false value.
Love is not about having the power to get someone to change into the person that you want them to be, just because you have ‘bestowed’ your ‘love’ upon them. Love is not about choosing reluctant, unsuitable, incompatible partners and then hoping, willing, waiting, and demanding that they make you the exception to their rule of behaviour.
This doesn’t mean that you are not a person of value but it does mean that by valuing the wrong things and having the wrong perception about your own value, you undermine yourself and your efforts, and also value yourself based on your involvement with others, veering between undervaluing and overvaluing you, but never actually truly valuing you.
People who are unworthy of our time and energy and who don’t act with love, care, trust, and respect are a distraction from our own issues, seemingly making what we feel we have far more valuable.
It is important to realise that the way of actually being more valuable is to opt out of the madness and treat yourself as someone of value.
If you imagine yourself as an expensive property and you let someone move in that treats the place like a beat up caravan, eventually, no matter how valuable the property is, it starts to lack an appearance that is in line with its value and starts showing significant signs of wear and tear. People who pass by think ‘Man, I thought this place was worth a lot more than that, but I guess I was wrong if they would just let it go to rack and ruin like that’. In the mean time, the property owner started out assuming that surely someone would treat the property with the love and care it needs and has now switched to believing that in time, this person will stop abusing the property and invest themselves in it and treat the property accordingly. Eventually, they have to kick him out, and while a little work is done to clean and fix the mess and damage, pretty much as soon as this person is gone, the value starts to go back up.
Likewise, if you don’t choose carefully and live a life that is in line with the values and value you claim to have, it is the equivalent of getting any old Tom, Dick, or Harry off the street and saying ‘How much do you think this is worth?’ and them throwing out some random, low price and then trying to explain to them that it’s actually worth a hell of a lot more and them looking at you blankly.
‘Value’ is very much a perception thing and is a natural extension of being and conducting your life in a way that is congruent with the ‘values’ you profess to have.
Your personal values are at your core and fundamental to fostering healthy, happy, successful relationships, but also having a life with good self-esteem, filled with boundaries.
If you put that in reverse, if you have no boundaries, you will have poor self-esteem, and foster unhealthy, unhappy, unsuccessful relationships because you don’t have values at your core.
This is why I emphasise the importance of having an honest conversation with yourself and being authentic, as opposed to having little or no boundaries, trying to morph and adapt to other people’s values that you don’t hold, or trying to get them to take on your values that they don’t respect or see, and basically losing yourself in every relationship you’re in because you’re so desperate to be loved and validated, you have no sense of self, and have got lost along the way being whatever you think people want you to be.
You may also find that you are inadvertently disrespectful to others as you impose your vision of things on them, tell them the changes that you expect, or try to force your love on them.
If you value yourself and have boundaries and values, nobody can come along and have you doing and being things that have you becoming distanced from who you are and also normalising bad behaviour in your relationships.
By the same token, if you truly value yourself, and have boundaries and values, you’ll value and accept others who reflect your beliefs, and you won’t cross their boundaries or disrespect their values.
It’s important to note at this point, that say for instance, you’re involved with Mr Unavailables and assclowns – while no doubt it is apparent that they have poor values, it’s recognising that they value different things rather than thinking ‘I can see that it’s screwed up that he values this so I must get him to change it because surely someone who values these things must realise it’s wrong and just needs the love of a good woman’.
If you really are looking to be happy and to meet someone who you are genuinely compatible with, it’s not about having dubious relationship habits, finding your ‘type’, and then trying to make them have your values or abandoning yours, by hammering the square peg into a round hole so that you can get your ‘happy ending’.
Ask yourself: What are my values? Then look at your relationships and see if they match up, and if they don’t, ask yourself why they don’t, and you start to have the answer to why your relationships are not working.
Latest posts by Natalie (see all)
- Podcast Ep.22: Boundaries Aren’t About Ruling Others, Stressing Over Valentine’s Day - February 6, 2016
- Advice Wednesday #2: How Do I Stop Letting My Gossiping Co-Workers Destroy My Inner Peace? - February 3, 2016
- Why We Must Be A Priority & Never An Option - February 1, 2016