Over parts one and two of this mini series on being valued and having personal values, I’ve been emphasising the importance of recognising that you are setting your own value by the company that you keep, expecting ‘unqualified’ and undeserving people to not only value but to validate you, and often living inconsistent with the values that you profess to have, which of course creates the conflict that arises in being involved with someone who isn’t keen on respecting boundaries or doesn’t value what you value.
People value people who know their own mind, have values, have boundaries, accept themselves, and live their lives accordingly.
This is an example of why if you take up the role of the Fallback Girl or allow someone to take the lead in your relationship, or have them dictate the pace and temperature, you will run into trouble. Always.
Ever said ‘I need him to do the decent thing and end it/leave me alone because I can’t do it’?
Ever ‘woken up’ part way through a relationship and wondered how the hell you got there or how you let someone get away with setting the tone of dubious behaviour?
Hard as it may be to hear, Mr Unavailables and assclowns for instance, even if they don’t say it (and to be fair, why the hell do you need them to?), have a lot more respect for the people who tell them to take a run and jump and don’t put up with their bullsh*t manoeuvres.
Yes, Mr Unavailables and assclowns respecting you in their warped way, may mean that you don’t have them in your lives any longer, but at least you’re respecting yourself and living your life as a person of value.
That may involve being on your own initially but if you consistently live your life with boundaries and values, you will attract likeminded people, especially because if you are doing these things, there is no room those that are reliant on being involved with people who have little or no boundaries and are quick to sack off their values.
People who don’t value you, don’t think ‘Ah…there they are this wonderful person of value giving me the time of day and their love when I’m not really all that and they’re telling me that things need to change, OK, I will change for them because I’m very lucky to be loved by this person’. Instead, they think:
‘If she had any real self-respect or love for herself, there’s no way she’d still be with me. I wonder what’s wrong with her?/There is something wrong with her.’
‘If she’s really as great as she says she is, what is she doing with a me? [A 40-something commitment resistant man who’s had more hopeful women than hot dinners, still lives with his mother and has no desire or intention of being an different to what he is.]’
‘She keeps telling me she deserves better than this, how any guy would be lucky to have her, yet she’s still hanging around here telling me how much she loves me, that she’s prepared to wait, and how we’re soulmates. Doesn’t she get it yet? I don’t want to be tied down by anyone. Jesus, you’d think she’d take the hint! Surely she must realise that it’s X I’ve been going to see when I tell her I’m working late….’
If you don’t make the connection between your actions and personal values, you will end up devaluing yourself because as shown in the examples, the other person starts being suspicious of your value, questioning your value, or realises that the game is up and that no matter what you’re saying, your professed personal values and what you claim is your value don’t stack up.
Note that if you have been involved with Mr Unavailables and assclowns that even though their personal values may not be great, they don’t deviate from them, and even if they do, they manage their way back to them.
If you have boundaries and personal values, you’ll respect other people who know their own mind even if it means that it makes you incompatible, you’ll align yourself with people who share your values and recognise that a clash of values makes you incompatible, you’ll have boundaries and act upon them, you’ll accept the reality of people and not cross their boundaries, and your life will be a positive extension of this.
In part one, I also talked about how ‘value’ and misusing it, is a bit like having an expensive property and then moving in someone who treats it like a beat up caravan – Even if you don’t initially realise that the person who is ‘living on your property’ is going to act without love, care, trust, and respect, the moment that you do realise, is the moment that action needs to be taken, rather than allowing the person to cause more damage.
Love is not about having the power to make someone change and have them be and do as you want. Genuine love requires acceptance and knowing that you’re both in this reality together.
Love is not getting ‘proof’ that someone loves you because you made them change or made them see your value.
Note that the only way you can become ‘compatible’ in these situations is for a) you to abandon all of your values and basically disappear as an entity of value, or b) them to abandon their values and end up disappearing, or c) compromise on your values, which is likely to be dodgy as your values are at your core which would remove your beliefs and principles.
Accept who you are instead of resisting it and looking for others to validate you or immersing yourself in other people’s problems so that you can demand change. By learning to accept instead of resisting, not only are you being real, you also open yourself up to the possibility of making your relationship work on a real level, because the person will see through your spirit of acceptance that you are not going to be actively resisting everything because you’re now being real.
If someone thinks that you are a non-accepting person who is living in lala land, they stop trying or wanting to try because there is no point. What would you think if you were involved with someone who was entrenched in illusions instead of getting real? Do you feel good when you’re not accepted? Do you feel good when your efforts are criticised?No, of course you don’t, and if you internalise the lack of acceptance, it fosters negativity.
As I said in my recent post about why we don’t see our qualities and contributions accurately,
“What this all means is that you have a choice: change tack and stop the talking, or get out.
While you may think it’s an option to stay and try to extract change, you’re creating a serious breeding ground of negativity. After a while, any conversations about the relationship are likely to be met with a wall of conflict, especially if when you express how you feel or discuss the relationship, it tends to result from something negative.”
So where do you go from here? Get real about what you think your personal values are and what they actually are.
Values are about what you need in order to live your life authentically so that you can be happy and feel good. If you haven’t figured it out already, the lack of values and not connecting them with your actions and choices means that you engage in relationship insanity – repeatedly doing the same things, going out with same person different package, and expecting different results.
Note that I say that values are about what you need as opposed to what you’d like to have. I also suggest that whatever your personal values are that you expect these not only out of others but also out of yourself.
Personal values are a necessity much like your boundaries but are often underused, under-enforced, or even unknown, much like boundaries, but every relationship you have will come undone if you don’t have them.
Personal values are personal so much as you might think it’s great to court the opinion of everyone from your mother, to your friends, to the woman that cuts your hair, there is no point. Your values are personal to you and by now, experience has taught you that if you take on the values of others or try to get people to see your values, or attempt to impose them on others, you will run into conflict.
As your values are like a sum of your life experiences, it’s a good idea, if you are finding yourself having negative relationship experiences and potentially feel your self-esteem impacted, that you examine what you value because the likelihood is that you’ve either never asked yourself, or haven’t for a long time.
If you’re the type of person that doesn’t see their qualities and contributions accurately and has been thinking that what stands in the way of a successful relationship is others, not you, I highly recommend that you examine your values.
– Write down what you think you value. Don’t overthink it. For now, just write down what springs to mind and be honest with yourself otherwise it’s only yourself you’re deluding. Also think about situations and events where you are happy and most at ease and yourself – they will give you a clue to your values.
– Look at your significant partners (whether that’s based on length of relationship or impact) and ask yourself how many of these values were you actually able to have in your relationships.
– For each of the values you did not follow through on in your relationships, ask yourself why that was the case. The answer to these questions will tell you what your habits and relationship patterns are driven by. – You may find it helps to note the specific negative consequence or what occurred as a result of not having these values.
– The values that were met by your partners, ask yourself how important they actually are to you. For instance if you value appearance but were made miserable by other values and the relationship floundered based on other values, this suggests that you prioritised values that are not actually needed or necessary to the detriment of things that actually are.
– Look back at your list and eliminate the values that are ‘nice to have’ but not actually necessary. I’d knock off superficial stuff, anything about hobbies, and look at the values that were met by your partners and ask yourself which ones do you truly need of these, if any.- Another way of testing the list, is, depending on how many are in the list, choose the ten most necessary, then knock off one at a time so that you get to see what you value the most – understand what your priority is and what you’ve been prioritising.
– If, when you are left with ten, half or more of them are values that were met by your previous partners, this is a red flag in your thinking as you’re seeking to repeat patterns again which is not only relationship insanity, but indicative of you not being accountable for your relationship experience and holding onto illusions. eg If you have 10 values left and 5 of them were values that were met by previous partners who you had dubious relationships with and have been unhappy, make sure they they are necessary, not ‘nice to have’.
– Look at the personal values that you have left. Are they personal values that you live by? Do you know why you value them? Understanding why you value them will make them not only more valuable to you, but will give you a sense of ownership, responsibility to act in your own interests, and make you aware of your own value. If they are driven by negative experiences, think about them from a rational now perspective rather than a hurt perspective so that you can empower yourself to move on from it.
Whatever personal values you have left, these are a necessity, you don’t deviate from them, and you have boundaries in place to ensure that you live your life congruent with these values rather than in conflict with them. You determine your value – you want to be valued and be of value, value yourself and live your life authentically with your values and boundaries instead of trying to morph and adapt to others or trying to get people to change to suit you.