Why the Hierarchy of Value Is So Crucial in Your Relationships

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Melodye Hilton

We were created to love and be loved. Science is now discovering this to be true, even in the literal structure of our brains.

Humanity was created in the image and likeness of God, who IS love. Thus, it is not strange to learn that the human brain is hard-wired to add value to others.

Our brain is an extremely relational and highly social organ. Experts in Axiogenics, Peter Demarest and Harvey Schoof write that, “above all else, our relationships with other people have the greatest value and are the greatest source of potential value generation.”

Our very bodies were designed to value people. Every word or decision we make will either build up or tear down, add value or bring shame, plant seeds of hope or of fear, encourage or discourage. True success is the intrinsic motivation to celebrate, honor and value every relationship in our lives. This begins with understanding our own unchanging and irrevocable value and from this solid foundation, we can unreservedly communicate value to others. We can risk giving, serving and empowering others to lead when we have this unwavering assurance of our own worth.

This speaks to our built-in Hierarchy of Value, which is important for us to live our most happy and healthy, contributing way of being. The hierarchy of value “transcends subjective morals and ethics and provides a logical, mathematical foundation for both maximizing and optimizing goodness in the world” (Demarest and Schoof).

As we choose to align our thoughts and choices to this universal hierarchy, we will experience the fullness of emotional health. Demarest simply encapsulates, “People first, productivity second, and policy third.”

The highest and most important value is intrinsic value (people). This is the ability to see value in self and to value others. “Intrinsic ‘things’ are unique, incomparable, and irreplaceable…The intrinsic dimension is the dimension of being.” (Demarest and Schoof)

“The human soul is God’s treasury, out of which he coins unspeakable riches.” (Henry Ward Beecher)

In summary, people are of the utmost value and must be seen as so.

Subsequent in importance in the hierarchy of value is that of extrinsic value (productivity). This encompasses the valuing of our and others’ quantifiable talents and abilities. It speaks to what we do. We acknowledge that we are a valuable resource in what we contribute to the world, the skills we develop, the talents we put forth.

In proper order, we should never place more importance on production than on the person, but it is vital to value this second tier of the hierarchy of value for what it is.

The element of least importance is systemic value (policy). This includes the systems and structures necessary to advance vision. This piece is important, but not more important than the ones above.

This hierarchy of value is listed in order of importance. If this is not evident or is out of order, it will cause emotional suffering and alienation within a team or even within oneself.

The more we align with this hierarchy of value, the happier, healthier and more productive we will be.{eoa}

Dr. Melodye Hilton is the co-host of the Life Exchange Podcast. Melodye works with individuals and workgroups around the globe as a leadership consultant, behavioral analyst and executive coach (drmelodye.com) For over 38 years, she and her husband, Steven, have served as the founders and co-leaders of Giving Light, a local church and global resource center located in the heart of central Pennsylvania. In addition, Dr. Melodye has founded the #StopDevaluation movement in an effort to see hearts and cultures healed through love and validation.

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