What gives you value? What values do you have? What value do you think you have? What value do you offer? What is a man of value?
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These are challenging questions that all have their importance and… value. However, they operate based on the premise that “value” is a term known by the one who answers. The word itself has several meanings, and people assign its numerous other meanings. Still, the most incorrect assumptions made about the form and content of “value”, in my opinion, are the ones below. The examples that I will give next are typical thinking mechanisms that illustrate relativity:
- “Everybody has or should have the same values because some values are implicit using <<common sense>> -> consequently, “if I have a certain value, I suppose that the other person has the same value, and if it isn’t so, I get upset”;
- “If you and I have the same value, then we will make the same decision/choice depending on this value” -> consequently, “if you also think X, then you must decide/choose Y”;
- “There are inferior values and superior values” -> consequently, a <<negative value>>, for instance: <<convenience>>, is not a value but a non-value; moreover, those who have such values are themselves non-values”;
- A person values society as much as the money he earns -> consequently, the familiar question “how much do you earn?”, “what’s your net worth”;
- We are aware of our values -> consequently, light statements of the kind “my values are X, Y, Z”;
- Suppose somebody has written something that you like. In that case, you must take it as a life rule which is always valid -> those who don’t know their values are more willing to often adopt other people’s values, which has nothing to do with tolerance or acceptance but with the absence of knowledge.
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Actually, in reality, each value occupies a very fixed position in the subconscious, in a hierarchy that is not really near at hand for anybody to become aware of it without the support of a specialist. Values, and especially their hierarchy, which also means the context in which they manifest themselves, all vary from person to person.
Many like to think they are better than others, depending on the values they believe they are defending. Of course, there are hierarchies and classifications of values, but not as most people think. As far as psychology and neuro-linguistic programming are concerned, there are no good and bad values, inferior and superior values, and correct and wrong values. As for Christianity, one should not judge people but their values and actions in each context.
So, to offer discerning perspectives on values, I must mention that I have read, written, and practiced a lot about this specialized field. That’s why I want to make a clear-cut important distinction between process (what are values, how do they work), specific research (for instance, which are the cultural features of a people), and content (what I consider to be important and what I promote as values).
For each person, in each context, one value can be found in the first position, as the most important, that usually overwrites all others. The value in the second position is also of cardinal importance but less important than the value in the first position. I will give an example, so you can easier understand. Let’s say that the members of a couple have as their most important couple values love and truth. One has love in the first position and fact in the second, while the other has truth in the first and love in the second. Can you imagine which conflicts can two people who cherish so much the same things but in different order have? Now amplify that when it is about a hierarchy of 10 values. Things become complex.
Now let’s go further and consider that the three distinctions mentioned (process, research, and content) when it is about values are closely connected and must be regarded before expressing a value judgment. So it is essential to know what a value is, which are the specific values of a people and culture a person belongs to and which are his/her personal values (of which he/she is aware or not), shaped by family, education, and professional experience.
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Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2014-present Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Valorile din psihologie şi NLP, structuri ale personalităţii“ published initially by Marcus Victor Grant in Romanian on the 3rd of September 2014 on Discerne. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved
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