In Life And Love, VALUE Is The Key

This writing is now available as a podcast episode!


I’ve said loudly and often that the best relationship, in my view, is one where both people feel like they get FAR MORE from the relationship than they put in.

‘Far more’ being value.

It doesn’t matter how nice you are or how good you look on paper if you provide no value.

Everyone has worth.

Not everyone provides value.

This isn’t about victimhood.

It isn’t about validation.

It’s about value.

Not what YOU value—at least not at first.

It’s about what everyone else values.

When you have an attitude of providing value—volunteering, helping, solving problems—you will give people something they believe they can use, and they might do cool things with it.

Some of those people will share those things with you.

And that’s important. Because you are not a bottomless well of awesome. You need replenishing. You need value returned to you. Some will come from those you give it to. Some will come from unexpected places, if you’re open to it.

People who love you will give you back value of their own. I’d go so far as to say that if you want to surround yourself with people who provide value, then ruthlessly cut off anyone who does not offer you value in return.

Of course, those people will be doing the same, so you will need to put your value out there to attract them in the first place.

Bait, if you will.

And just as in fishing, the bait you use will influence what you catch.

Value will attract people who look for value. Some will provide value in return. Keep these to be proud of and to fill you up. Some will be leeches or lampreys, and will need to be thrown back to suck others dry.

I’m not advocating tit-for-tat.

In fact, even in it’s most positive form, tit-for-tat is a crappy relationship paradigm.

That’s what I mean by getting far more value from the relationship than you put in.

But that’s further long than in the attraction phase.

Because in the beginning, we need to see something in another human that attracts us. That’s the value.

And we need to see enough of it to spur action, multiple times, to get to a point where we can really take whatever this is seriously.

But what is value?

To many it’s simple: beauty or physical attraction of some sort.

That is one kind of value, sure. But there are more we have to offer:

  • physical attractiveness
  • humor
  • insightfulness
  • caring
  • kindness
  • competency
  • appreciation
  • understanding
  • knowledge
  • sadism/masochism
  • skills
  • helpfulness

There are hundreds more. And each person’s value image is slightly different than others, I’d guess. Like a fingerprint of what we desire.

And when someone exhibits one of our top values, we’re drawn to them.

When they continue exhibiting those values AND (as importantly) show appreciation for the values we exhibit as well, bonds form, and we create relationships—play connections, friendships, and love.

And that is where the value is key.

Because when we are exhibiting values that are natural to us, it’s not hard. And when people reflect back to us that they appreciate those values, that’s a value in itself. Add to the values they exhibit (hopefully as naturally as breathing to them), and voilà! We feel we are getting FAR MORE than we give.

Which is just right.

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