What are personal values and why are they important in dating, relationships or just life in general? When I was 19 or so, a friend of mine came to me complaining that she was being emotionally bullied by a close friend of mine. I softly persuaded him to stop despite him being a close friend of mine. I didn’t like bullies that's why I decided to stand up for my other friend.
You could argue that by me standing up to my friend, I was acting out of my values. I stood up for my values regardless of external circumstances. I stood up for another friend in spite of being a friend of the perpetrator. I behaved according to my values and persuaded him otherwise, risking a potential rift in my friendship with him.
Why Personal Values Are Important
In modern society, you may find yourself in a constant struggle to stick to your values as opposed to sacrifice them for an extrinsic result.
For example, authenticity and expressing yourself honestly is a value in itself. Honesty, however, sometimes is uncomfortable, especially when expressed negatively to friends or superiors. Your honesty may not be appreciated. It may involve telling your boss something that he might disagree with but might be better for the company. This may put you at risk of offending him (or losing your job). This can be difficult at times, especially so in the Asian culture.
In the realm of dating and relationships... what if your date you are interested in treats you badly? What if this person is a no-show for three dates straight and just casually cancels on you last minute every single time? Are you going stick up for yourself and perhaps call them out? Or are you going to just smile, and pretend nothing happened?
Can you uphold the interval value of self-respect? Can you call this person out for their negative behavior, risk upsetting them and lose the potential benefit of dating someone you’re interested in?
What if your friends are always showing up late and disrespectful of your time? What if you valued your time and made efforts to be on time for meet ups? Do you hold back calling the person out to avoid the possibility of not offending him or her?
What Personal Values Really Are
Values can be said to be internal compasses. They are a judgment about how important something is to us. There are principles that are held internally regardless of external circumstances. Sometimes, they are principles and judgments that you are willing to sacrifice and die for. They can comprise of intangibles such as authenticity, accountability, empathy and respect.
Values are researched to higher self-esteem, in the long run, makes you more attractive to women, increase work creativity, and make you a happier person. Positive values are also usually ensued by strong boundaries.
In short, they're awesome.
Ironically, it’s people that do not have any values going for them that are unattractive and mediocre. They don’t stand for anything. They are people pleasers. They often crave attention and affection from the world around them at the cost of their personal integrity and values. They’ll never build a strong identity. Counter-intuitively, it’s this constant need for a false sense of acceptance that what repels people away.
In our relationships, it's the sacrifice of their own personal values that leads to needy and unattractive behaviour.
So Marcus, without sounding like a boring high school counsellor, how can you instil this thing called values in your life then?
Ironing Out Your Values
Ironing out your values can be simple as taking out a piece of paper and writing down what you will and will not accept in your life. This can range from business decisions, relationship values to all other areas of your life. The second step is to commit and be disciplined about it. Note, no one is perfect and it’s OKAY to falter and be flexible. However, just like habits, you just go back to work on it.
- Your Dating and Relationship Values
So, a couple of years ago, when I started learning how to attract women. The first step was to iron out my dating and relationship values. This means what I will, and will not accept from women, or people in general. This not only helped my self-esteem, but it also made my dating choices much easier.
In my own life today, and in my client's life as a dating coach for men. You can start with a couple of simple values.
I stopped texting girls who didn't want to text me back, I stopped worrying about girls who didn't want to go out on dates with me. Yeah, I get rejected, however, it saved me the heartache, the smokes and games that people play. I decided I'll not hang out with people who don't want to hang out with me. I'll not date a girl who doesn't want to date me. I'll not text a girl who doesn't want to text me. I'll express interest only to women that I’m interested in.
These values play an important role when I'm on a date. Instead of constantly worrying if I match up to her, I'm going to see if there's a right fit of values. I'm not looking to impress her.
If you're wondering what I value in women, physical beauty (I can’t lie), empathy, intellectual curiosity, honesty, nurturance and accountability. From personal experience, I'm a lot more motivated, willing to sacrifice a lot more time and effort to pursue a girl who’s more physically aesthetic. If she's hot but has selfie problem, sure, I'll be more tolerant of it. If she's hot but is slightly emotionally erratic, sure, I'll be patient. I'm willing to give up many superficial nuances that tick me off.
However, I'm not willing to give up my personal boundaries just to pursue someone who is physically attractive. There are values that are non-negotiable. If she constantly disrespects me or is rude, I am going to call her out on it. If she doesn’t alter her behaviour, then I'll simply drop her.
Note, I hold these values true for all other relationships as well. I also can't be bothered by people who don't respect my time or money. If you don’t respect my time or money, there isn't a friendship in place anymore in the first place.
I once attended a slimy internet marketing business program. Whilst the potential monetary prospects were good, I hated it. Why so? That’s because the way the business was conducted went against my values of providing a competitive and ethical service to society.
I figured that instead of marketing slimy products to people in need of psychological help, I rather figure out the hard and longer route of building an ethical product and service.
This forced me to iron out my business values. I decided that I'll only make an income through ethical products or service to consumers that don't hurt society. The systems and products have to work without relying on psychological manipulation. Secondly, I’m not going to work for anyone who uses his network or relationships as a 'stronghold'.
Ironing out these values made a lot of business choices down the road much simpler. Out went the scammy products that prey on delusional or people that are in a bad spot in life. Out went the nights of drinking just for the sake of clinching a deal. Since I had these values in place, it freed me up to learn how to market products and services ethically.
Helpful and UnHelpful Values
It's said if you pursue values such as popularity and fame, it's 'negative'. However, I don't entirely see it this way and I think negative values can be a good motivator for positive values. If I didn't desire to be with attractive women, I'll not have undertaken this self-improvement process. If not for the desire to be financially free, I'll not have attempted to be an entrepreneur. This blog wouldn't exist. I also think everyone is motivated by different intrinsic and extrinsic motivators at a certain point of time.
Negative values are fundamentally superstitious, immediately uncontrollable and socially destructive. If you value popularity or fame or how much you’re liked or accepted by everyone that’s not immediately controllable. That’s because you can’t control how people think of you.
If you measured yourself by a million dollars in a bank, that’s an external value that isn’t controllable. It’s merely going to drive you crazy. Negative values are reliant on an external event such as flying in a private jet, getting threesomes or travelling the world in pursuit of purely a hedonistic lifestyle (read: guilty).
Arguably, negative values can be good motivators initially. You didn’t get into self-development if you didn’t want to date more attractive partners, make more money and look really awesome amongst your friends right? Negative values can give you a good start, however, for long term happiness, you’ll need to prioritize internal values in the long run.
Positive values are reality-based, immediately controllable, self-generated and are socially constructive. Positive values such as innovation, honesty and vulnerability are immediately controllable and can be self-generated right this moment.
For example, instead of valuing popularity or how much I’m liked by people, I can make an internal value of improving my dating/ social life. That way, the mere act of taking action to go out to a bar to meet more women is small win for me regardless the end outcome.
Positive values are always internally achieved and there’s no completion to them. They are also process-oriented. Honesty and vulnerability are internal values that can be practised right now and in every social interaction for the rest of your life.
How to Establish Your Values Without Being an Asshole?
So the one thing about values that people get confused is that you got to be somewhat of an asshole when expressing your values.
Having strong values doesn't mean that you go around calling others out on their 'poor values' or lack thereof. It just means recognising that you have different values than them and sometimes it's just a lack of compatibility. The first step to establish your values is to express it in a matured manner. If the girl you're dating shows up late, you don't have to scream at her for showing up late. Just making it known and calling her out on is enough.
You can always say: “Hey, I hope you won't be this late the next time we meet.” In a respectful and assertive manner.
I also want to note that your values should be flexible and based on context. If you have an amazing friendship with someone who’s always late but has many other merits, then it’s perfectly fine to just accept that personal flaw in that individual.
What Happens When You Change Your Values?
When you change your values, it’s normal for your old relationships to blow up in your face. This can be demonstrated by calling out certain behaviours from old friends and possibly ticking them off the wrong way. In my own personal growth, I started valuing my time and I started being serious about my business and my work. If someone cancels on me without letting me know, I’m sorry, that’s non-negotiable. I'm calling you out.
The friendships you made through your life probably supported and confirmed the values you have. However, when you begin to shift your values, you’re going to inevitably experience a lot of friction amongst those old relationships.
In my experience, long term relationships and friendships are the hardest. You may find yourself in a place where your closest relationships no longer understand you anymore. However, do these friendships have to go? not necessarily. There’s no need to cut out a person because of a difference in values, that's because, despite the difference in values, there may be overlap in values.
However, if you are constantly bickering over petty behaviours. That just goes to show that you have different fundamental life values and have completely different priorities, then perhaps some time off that particular relationship might not be a completely negative thing.
In my experience, I found out the hard way that people around you are going to have different values from you at different points of their lives and in multiple areas of their life from relationships to careers.
This is true of your relationship with your parents, your childhood best friends, your boss, your pet goldfish and your colleagues. You may have a childhood friend that has conflicting values at some point of his or her life and this may lead to your friendship possibly ending.
It's values that ultimately bring people together and tear people apart. You're going to be what you value. Choose your values wisely.
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W, M. M. (2007). Happiness and Virtue in Positive Psychology. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 89-103.