Why putting our values in hierarchy is important

Assuming that you have taken your time to identify your values, it’s very important to become clear about the hierarchy they are in as well. Why is that?

Because we can share values with the people we surround ourselves with, but have completely different ways of living them depending on what is most important to us.

To show an example;

Lets say that you and your newfound romantic partner shares these top values; Love, Health, Adventure, Fun and Wealth.

Your hierarchy might look like this:

1. Wealth

2. Adventure

3. Fun

4. Love

5. Health

What does this hierarchy tell about you?

Well, it tells me that you might be a fun-loving, adventurous person who also is ambitious, and maybe not the kind of person you would find in the gym, but you are probably taking somewhat good care of your body in other ways, in fun and adventurous ways like skydiving, mountain-climbing or something like that!

So, and you meet this wonderful person and you share these values with him/her, but their hierarchy(of the same values) is the complete opposite and looks like this;

1. Health

2. Love

3. Fun

4. Adventure

5. Wealth

What does this say about the other person?

If health is the most important thing in the world for this person, you will probably find that they are more ‘responsible’ than you perhaps when it comes to their health and wouldn’t risk jumping out of a plane with you.

They might need more intimacy than you because their need for giving and receiving love is bigger than yours.

And they might not work on their goals and careers as much as you, because money is not that important to them.

A conflict in values could look like this; his/her need for love may become clinginess to you, and the adventurous side of you might eventually decide to have an affair with a person that is not as ‘needy’.

There might be some issues of accusing each other to not be there for one another; one of you hangs out in the gym all the time while the other one pursues success; working a lot etc. To name a few.

When we know the other persons values, we can understand more easily where they are coming from and with that knowledge we can also see more clearly why others are doing what they are doing and behaving like they are, even at times when we thought we shared the same values with them, and by that we can prevent issues in the relationship.

We are most happy in our lives when we live in congruent with our own true values, and we are most fulfilled when we live in alignment with what is most important to us so it’s important to respect each others hierarchy of values as well.

~No one is right or wrong, only different! 🙂

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  1. Hey Maria,

    I think it is great to put your values in hierarchy, it is important to know what you think is important and what you want to focus on.

    It helps you make decisions and shape your future with more conscious choices.

    I do not think you should be to caught up on comparing your “value hierarchy” with your partner though.

    First of all having someone who really is into health as a partner will automatically help you take better care of yourself, you might eat healthier, they can motivate you to go to the gym and so on.

    Having a partner with high ambitions can help you lift yourself and start aiming for things you never before dared to believe in.

    Having the exact same values can also be dangerous. It can amplify your weak points as well as boost your strengths. It is important to have two halves in a relationship so that you can help each other and benefit from the others expertise.

    But being aligned in principal can also work really well in a relationship, it can help you focus and work together on common goals. Me and my wife have very similar prioritise which has helped us a lot.

    What I am saying is that making a value hierarchy for yourself is great, but don’t judge potential partners by it.

  2. Maria Erving

    Hi Daniel,

    And thanks for the comment.

    I understand what you mean, and agree with you, but the post was about basically about “Why conflicts in values happen, and how to handle them”. (when we understand the other persons hierarchy of values, we can have a bigger understanding of them)

    To keep the posts readable and not too long, I can’t write about the different subjects from all the different angles and perspectives at once, so this particular post was focusing on why issues in a relationship happens when it comes to values, and how to see where the other person is coming from.

    There are a lot more to say about values, which I am sure I will share in my blog later on, as it is a subject that is important to me. I could write a book about it, but this is a blog so I want to keep the posts short, neat and focused:-)

  3. Maria Erving

    PS: I don’t agree with you on what you said about “It is important to have two halves in a relationship”. I myself would never get into a relationship with someone who is seeing himself as ‘half’, or who would see me as the other ‘half’ so to speak. I would only get involved with a man who sees himself as whole. I don’t believe in having a relationship where we are two 50% people meeting and getting together. I want a man who is already 100%, as I am 100% too 🙂
    When I hear the words “I need a woman..” or “I need you..” I run the other way! lol 😀

  4. Great points there Maria,
    We have to be independent people, but as Stephen Covey says, the best relationships are made between interdependent people who work together to become more than the individual parts.

    And I understand that you don’t want more than one point in an article 😉 It doesn’t fit, so I thought I would add it to the comment area 🙂

  5. Maria Erving

    I appreciate your inputs Daniel, so keep em’ coming:-)

    I definitely think that we all have something valuable to give/share with each other, and whomever I will eventually hook up with will too. We will have something that the other has not etc while at the same time we are whole as we are. It’s when someone ‘needs’ me that it clashes with my desires and wants in a relationship.

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