The topic about the importance of surrounding yourself with people who have the same values came up randomly over brunch with friends yesterday. I’ve never heard anyone talk about it before and it never occurred to me ’til now that others might share the same ignorance of the topic that I once had.
I have been a music lover ever since I was a small child. Throughout my school years, I naturally gravitated to other kids who liked music too. Liking the same bands was a bond that kept us connected for many years. At age 28, after leaving my hometown and everyone I knew to start my dream life in the southwest, I went searching for new friends from the same old perspective that I did back in school…find other music lovers! I immediately began attending rock concerts. I actually remember myself saying frequently, “If all of us here like the same band, I’m pretty sure we’ll have other things in common too!” Working at the Hard Rock also made finding friends easy and soon I was immersed in a regional music scene and was making friends from all over the country.
As the years went by, I began finding myself very unfulfilled by these friendships. I was friends with some of the most interesting, fascinating, exciting people who I genuinely liked and yet I felt empty, lonely. The relationships all seemed shallow. I longed for my friends to see me and appreciate me the way my beloved clients at work did. (A clue!) After well over a decade of broken hearts delivered to me on a silver platter by friends and lovers alike, I retreated. Music began to get associated with heartache and disappointment and shallow, vacuous people.
As a person who highly values commuincation and deep connection, when a life coach I hired asked me what my top 5 values were, I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know what that meant. Values? Like, what do I treasure?? I didn’t even know what values were until I was over 40 years old! I had always believed that having things in common with people meant that you like to do the same things. I still don’t quite understand how people with the same interests don’t always have the same values. Somehow my perspective was stuck in a teenager’s mindset. It’s no wonder I was failing at all my adult relationships; I was still thinking like a child! My coach sent me a long list of values to choose from and I narrowed mine down to 5. Wow! Knowing the core values that define me as a person was the ultimate a-ha moment. I became keenly aware that year just how important it is to share common values with the people closest to you. Your values are your operating system!!
After spending the last 6 years immersed in the world of life coaching, I have moved farther and farther away from social scenes that revolve around live music. I took a good look at the friends I had made in those 15 years and cherry-picked the ones who have similar values to my own. The rest were suprisingly easy to let go of. I take genuine interest in the lives of those I’ve retained and continue to make an effort to grow these relationships to the best of my ability. Look at me having successful adult relationships! Woo! The other massive benefit to understanding that values are more important than interests, was that I was able to attract a partner who shares the same ones. Had I met him 10 years ago, I may not have recognized these foundational core values and qualities that make us compatible nor would I have known just how important it is for a thriving relationship to have them. If you’d like to learn more about what your core values are and how to live in better alignment with them, please reach out to me at coachingwithCari@gmail.com
(Thanks Vikki & Katy for the inspiration!)