Valuing people hurts your bonds

In preparation for a workshop I was going to give, I ended up doing a value identification exercise.

quarters balancing represents value and teamwork

It was then I realized the names of the important people in my life: my husband, daughter, and other family members did not pop up.

Part of me felt obligated to write them down on my list, but my mind kept calculating that this connection was off. After reflecting for a bit, I realized that value should only be placed on objects, actions, and ideas. For instance, my husband is priceless and, therefore, invaluable. Now his influence skills, care of his family, and trustworthiness are actions and qualities I have come to value during our relationship. His being as a person was never something I could weigh against any human measurement of value.

When we value others we equate them to commodities. Whether it is positive (Jenny a valuable member of the team) or negative (Rich wasn’t worth a dime) we lower their potential and limit their possibilities to imperfect human measurements. Finally, we subject ourselves to the possibility of measuring our worth with money, possessions, or other human values. Karl Marx, a philosopher who studied weaknesses in the purely capitalist society, noted the concept of commodity fetishism or measuring social relationships by their usability or where the object is valued in place of the work behind the object. A lot like reality celebrities Hollywood glitz and glam supersedes the low-budget, low-quality content produced on reality TV shows.

So when relating with others, build a stronger connection not by valuing them for who they are, but seek, find, and appreciate the value of what others do. How do we relate to others in a positive way without placing value directly on the person?

Consider all of the other ways we can relate. 

For instance, I love my husband, care deeply for my daughter and value the trust I share with my sister. There are so many other ways to connect our beings to another without demoting them to the level of an object.

How can you do that today?

photo credit: Balance (license)