Values Violated
Experiences and Situations

Think of a time when someone made you angry.

Angry feelings, are a response to a situation where your values were violated. Someone did something that is contrary to your values or didn't do something that would have fulfilled a value of yours. Each of us experiences violations of our values as a painful feeling. Such feelings as when we are disrespected or mistrusted or berated or insulted or threatened or unjustly blamed happen to anyone who has values. It is important to recognize that such feelings are not a problem in and of themselves. In fact, they are a signal . . . a signal that your values have been violated, and knowing that is a good thing to know.

If I could get rid of my feelings of this kind, I wouldn't. Without knowing when our values have been violated we each would be in real trouble. We would be like a car without a fuel gauge or an oil light. To take a drug to feel only good feelings would be like covering the oil light in your car with a piece of tape. If you don't know your car needs oil, eventually the engine will grind to a halt. It is the same with our values violation feelings. They are signals, not problems. Because values violations are painful, it means that they've been violated. It means what there is some healing to do. And it means that the event which triggered the values-violation feelings needs to be examined and understood.

So what do we do when we experience the pain of values violations?

First, it is important to PAUSE and make yourself safe. Then begin healing the pain. Face, feel and heal the pain.

Why heal first?

Because if we don't, we won't examine or understand anything. Instead, we will act with pain and that is a risky thing to do. Instead of seeking to understand, we may strike back at the person with blaming, sarcasm, a harsh tone or all three. We may label, judge and avoid the person. We may gossip and whine to others about how we were mistreated. While all of these behaviors are quite human, especially in response to pain, none of these behaviors constitutes good leadership. These kinds of behaviors run a risk of harming others and ultimately our self and our reputation. They make victims of ourselves and others. That is why it is important to heal our pain before we react outwardly to our pain.

When we do heal our pain, we can then make a decision to examine and understand what happened. We can figure out what stimulated our pain and violated our values. We can reexamine our values and behaviors that violate them and fulfill them. We can choose to adjust our values to accept or tolerate behavior that had been offensive and hurtful. If, after examining our own values, we may choose to keep our values the way they are, without adjusting what we accept or tolerate. In that case, what can choose to do is how to negotiate for and persuade the person to behave differently. That is, get them to behave in a way that fulfills our values instead of violating them.

By not making the situation worse or responding in kind you will be more persuasive and will use your own behavior to set an example of what you want.

Once you have healed, as the VBL Flow Chart guides you to do, you can expand your thinking and plan for how you'll behave. Below are some suggestions about how to deal with two types of situations that may arise.

Potential Values Violation Situations:

You Have an Unsolved Problem

How can I solve my problem effectively?

Someone Else Does Victim Behavior

How can I help another person pause and heal their pain so they can refrain from engaging in victim behavior?

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