This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about values. As we learn more about ourselves, it’s important to outline what attributes mean the most to us. For me, when I am hurt or offended I want to better understand why. It’s easy to say that something hurt us but it can be difficult to see why it hurt so badly. I decided to create a value tree to better understand my interactions. You may be thinking, what is a values tree? I don’t even know if this is a real thing but we’re doing it anyway. Here’s how I made mine:
- Establish Important Attributes
To me, I chose to outline how I feel valued in conversations or relationships. I wrote down honesty, respect, and kindness. This looks different to everyone. You don’t have to settle with three but I thought this was a good start.
- How Do Those Manifest in Others
Next, I looked at situations in which I feel respected. I wrote down scenarios in which a person demonstrates to me that they respect me. I repeated this with the other two values. What I ended up with is a list of ways I see those traits in action. This helps me to understand why some conversations feel very safe.
- How Do Those Manifest in Me
I need to hold myself to the same standards I hold others. I need to look at how I demonstrate kindness, honesty, and respect. It’s unfair to hold others to a standard that you don’t exhibit yourself. So I repeated step two but in my own perspective of how I can express those feelings outwardly to others.
- Look at the Opposite in Others
So now that we’ve established what a positive situation looks like, it’s time to look at the negative. What does a conversation look like that doesn’t show respect, honesty, and kindness? I wrote down some of those scenarios.
- Look at the Opposite in Myself
Again, I looked at myself and what I give when I don’t respect someone. This is a great way to understand my own actions. The implications lacking these attributes can have when conversing with others. There are a lot of times when I don’t respect who I am speaking with and I can come off rude or unfeeling. This is great feedback. Although I may not respect someone, everyone deserves to be treated respectfully.
Look at all of these scenarios together. I want to establish how I can react appropriately in the future. This looks different for when I’m receiving rather than outwardly communicating. When I feel disrespected or that someone isn’t being truthful, I don’t want to act out of emotion. This gives me time to think of a proper response that respects my boundaries but doesn’t lash out and hurt others. Looking at my own interactions and how I give people the message that I don’t respect them is important. Moving forward, I can recognize that behavior, react, and change my language accordingly. Again, this is all about recognizing and learning about yourself.
This is an important exercise for me. I chose to share it with you because it’s challenging to understand why we react out of emotion. Until we establish values, it can be difficult to unravel the twine and pull apart hurt and anger. Once we start, it’s good to change moving forward. We can respect our emotions but act rationally as opposed to emotionally. This can make all the difference in how effectively we communicate.