Savvy Therapy

VALUES ARE THE CORE OF US – YOU LEARNT MOST OF YOURS BEFORE THE AGE OF 7 – WHAT VALUES HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT FOOD?

VALUES ARE THE CORE OF US – HOW DO THEY INFLUENCE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD?

Values are unconscious filters. you learn your values almost by osmosis from your parents and close family members until about the age of 7, when the conscious mind kicks in. After the age of 7 you learn values from your peer group and friends.

Values are what motivate you to do something, but they can also work as brakes: stopping you from achieving your desires.  Values influence how you delete, distort, generalise the experiences that you here have coming in from your senses.    

Values are the centre of who we are; everyone has values.  Values reflect our state of mind and principles of actions and are usually abstract, for example:

Love,

Honesty,

Fun,

Health,

Respect,

Freedom,

Loyalty,

Integrity,

Security,

kindness and,

Friendship.

We value these qualities in others and we value them in ourselves.   Values are not logical; many people will tell you what they think their values are but their deeper values may be different.

Values can apply in just one context, for example, what people value in relationships may not be the same as what they value in their professional life.

People do have core values that stay the same whatever the context.  These values underpin your behavior.

For example, think of a woman who is  married and her husband says to her can we have a child now?  She replies, we will have one after I finish my masters degree.  Her husband says but that is what you said when you finished your first degree.  

Looking for an explanation of what this meant revealed that as a child her family had inculcated her with the value of education so deeply that she had pursued education over every other aspect of her life.  She realised that though education was a good value it did not have to override everything in her life.

Values are why we do what we do.   Values direct our life acting as permission and prohibition on how we act.  We use them to drive your decision-making.  They provide the criteria by which to evaluate whether a decision is right or wrong or good and bad.   Whatever we call a right or good decision will match one or more of our personal values.

We will also judge people by our own values and this is where a great deal of conflict occurs.  If you have a high value around punctuality and someone is late; we may judge them as uncaring, not interested, or lazy.  Of course we are quite often wrong but we like to give ourselve answers to behaviour of others which violates our own values.

Where do we get our values from?

Values are inherited from one or both of your parents or the adults around you as you’re growing up.  Parents often drum values into children.   Some children are given a strict regime of studying as they grow up you can be studious as an adult.   Others are sent to  dance class or to play  music and life centres around dance or music.   Because your behaviour is a big part of identity you put a high value on the inherited values and continue to use them in adulthood.  Parents often want to give their children something they never had which might be food or a full stomach.   I certainly am aware of one woman whose mother had a very very difficult upbringing and was very often hungry and so she regularly ensured that her children had more than sufficient food.   Children find this hard to compensate for and redress the balance because they are unaware of what is a balanced approach to food is because they don’t learn it from the adult.

Rebellion is another reason why we have values.   Some children will follow a parental value while others will rebel against it.   For example, a parent might try to force a child to eat vegetables but the child’s will rebel against it.   The child refuses to eat them and no matter how many times the vegetables are presented to the child they refuse.   I certainly am aware of one person whose mother tried to force her to eat vegetables at the age of 3 and her rebellion was to go and throw them up as soon as she left the table.  She didn’t swallow them she just kept them in her mouth which led to huge problems later in life with eating.

Sometimes we adopt values from new surroundings.   Such as joining a new group or family.

Every culture has its own values and when you come into contact with people from different cultures then there may be a culture clash.

The nuances of values are quite hard.    One value about food that I was given as a child by parents and school was to remember the starving children in Africa when eating and be glad of the food we had.  This good value is connected in my mind to a belief that food should be eaten and not thrown away and a rule to clear my plate.  So I eat what is on my plate, not what I need.  Associated with this is my occasional thought that I am like a human dustbin.  

Unpicking all of the thoughts, feelings, values, beliefs and rules about food will be immensely helpful in changing your relationship with food.

What are your values and how do they relate to your relationship food?  

Best wishes

Sheila Leahy

Video https://youtu.be/NLSc2K0Hg5M

FactSheet about the value of kindness https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VBHkflg_HGgXSt_BacsR3t4ElmFsHL3L/view?usp=sharing