Can values be negative?

Following on from last week I want to explore the question raised by one of my readers about whether a value can be negative.

If a value is important to you it is important. Someone else might view it negatively however if you feel and/or think it is important then for you it is. For this reason I would not label a value “negative”. I’d be interested to know what you think.

Let’s take an example, suppose someone had a value that it was important to be famous. We see this one a lot with reality TV. It is possible that this value is really about feeling significant in the world and tied to self-esteem. It might even be that the “value” of being famous is in an attempt to feel worthy and of value as a human being. It could be argued that there are healthier ways of achieving that goal.

Someone else might have a value about having fun and might pursue the same pathway as the person mentioned above. In other words doing the same thing but for a different reason.

This happens also where someone values money. Often the pursuit of and valuing of money is about seeking security. Paradoxically the amount of money needed to consistently feel secure is often still out of reach even for those who appear “successful”.

Other people value security and seek it in other ways.

We may also feel anger if we feel one of our values is being trampled on. For example if someone values good manners and someone “breaks a rule” we may become angry.

Where it gets fun is the way we might share a value with someone else and express it in a different way. Our “rules” may vary even though we appear to share a value.

There can come a time in life where we start to question our values particularly if we do not feel happy in our lives. Sometimes we realise we have been holding a value that in some way has been causing us to experience a lot of unhappiness. We might then choose to label our own value as “negative”. This will be the point where change is desired.

However it is a little more complicated because we can also have a conflict of values, two things that are both important to us but in some way contradict each other. Next week I will define this phenomena.


About Melody @ GWizlearning

Melody spent fourteen years gathering experience of the business world working in banking, telecommunications and the public sector before co-founding The GWiz Learning Partnership in 1993. Melody has a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, a degree in Psychology and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She is an NLP Master Trainer which allows her to run NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer Training courses certified by the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistc Psychology. She is also a qualified Myers Briggs practitioner and EI practitioner and added to all this is five years Transactional Analysis training, meaning she is able to help organisations access the hidden potential in their staff. She is also in demand for her work in transforming average or even troubled teams into high performers. Melody is a visiting lecturer at University of East London, teaching "Wellbeing and Positive Psychology" to undergraduates. Additionally, she is a member of the CIPD and is ILM accredited. Melody's interests are many and varied. She has a keen interest in personal development, canine and wolf psychology, conservation, movies and running. She also enjoys western horse riding, walking the GWiz dogs, nature watching and stage combat (particularly sword fighting).
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2 Responses to Can values be negative?

  1. I feel values can be quite destructive; they certainly were at one point in my life. When mine were based on selfishness they served to almost destroy me. Evaluation to the word itself is to be contemplated. What indeed is truly valued in one’s life? Is it money, or what money can buy? Is it what money can buy, or how you will feel once the purchase is made? In my blog I have two articles. One is “What I Believe” and the other is “What I Refuse To Believe.” Interestingly enough all that I value seems to be based on nothing material in nature. When “stuff” matters above spirit,
    then values fracture when acquisitions lose their luster. I think few know other such pursuits can lead to the same feeling of emptiness. Chasing a reputation or trying to manipulate what others think of us is a perfect example of a hollow value, at least in my opinion. In my experience the very best way to introduce a healthy set of values is to look to those who are mirroring what we want for ourselves and mimic their behavior. I again speak of NOTHING material. Who is at peace? Who is happy? Who lets nothing bother them? Who follows their own path? Who has passion? Who has trust? These are the priceless treasures everyone wants. With Love, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

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