Many of you wrote to us expressing your appreciation for Alana’s insight on personal values and needs. It appears that the idea of determining what your “non-negotiable values” are is an essential concept in personal mission development and finding true happiness. Non-negotiable values are just that: they are what you *must* have and be. The topic of values can sometimes be confusing. Really, it’s quite simple. Values are words that describe what is most important to you. When I use the word values, I’m referring more to a person’s needs than than their lofty principles or standards. When someone’s principles or standards are *real* for them, instead of just being ideas, they become true needs. For example, a person might state the principle “Parents need to spend time with their children.” However, those words are quite different than “I’ve been working too many hours this week. I really miss my kids and need to spend some time with them.” I’m using the words values and needs interchangeable, but I’m not talking about abstract beliefs about what is perceived to be good-bad or right-wrong.
The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow demonstrated that we all share the same basic survival needs of air, food, shelter, etc. with his “hierarchy of needs”. Next comes safety and security. Many people people put up with relationships that don’t meet even these first two tiers of needs! If these basic needs are not being met, they either need to start being met immediately, or things need to change. Maslow pointed out that unless these first two areas of need are met, a person will be too distracted to pursue the next level, which includes love and belonging. This idea makes sense, doesn’t it? Next comes respect for self and others. And at the top of the hierarchy is what he called “self-actualization” and then finally “transcendence” of self.
Your non-negotiable needs are unique to you. They are essential to identify when developing a mission statement. If you would like to continue exploring who you are and what you need, here’s a powerful and life-changing nine-step exercise:
- Grab something to write with and a number of small pieces of paper. Post-It Notes work great but any little pieces of paper will do.
- On one of the pieces of paper, write down the first need you have that comes to mind. It doesn’t matter what kind of need it is, or where it might be on Maslow’s hierarchy.
- On a new piece of paper, write down the next need that comes to mind.
- Next ask yourself, “What’s more important to *me*, this need (piece of paper one) or this need (piece of paper two)?”
- Now place them on a surface, with the most important need at the top (or the bottom, if that makes more sense to you; just decide whether top or bottom represents what is most important to you and be consistent). Note: There can be no ties regarding your needs. If it feels that way at first, make a decision. You can always change your mind. In fact, powerful life experiences will often help to re-sort your needs.
- Go back to step three above, come up with a new value-need, and then sort it into your hierarchy.
- Keep going until you can’t think of any more needs. See if you can create 50, 75, 100…even more!
- Now look at all of your needs and mark the ones that are non-negotiable. You can underline those words, highlight them, or put a little star next to them–whatever your heart desires.
- This is an on-going process. As values-needs come to mind, write them down and sort them into your hierarchy. As you do, you’ll be learning a GREAT deal about yourself. The more you learn about who you are and what you need, the more you’ll become who you truly are. The more you become your authentic self, the more you will attract people, places, and things that are in alignment with your energy. The more you will be on track with your personal mission in life and develop opportunities to follow your life path.
Find another article on non-negotiable needs for assisting in creating healthy relationships.