What are Warmth Values versus Strength Values?

Updated: Apr 7

by Dawn Billings, founder of RelationshipHelp.com

Human beings make judgements about what is right, as well as, what they believe to be wrong based upon a core set of adopted values. Conflict, frustration and judgment, and miscommunication most often occur when people find that their core values are born out of color tendencies on different sides of the Primary Colors Values Wheel.


When I am attempting to help people understand the difference between values that come from Strength and values that come from Warmth it is sometimes difficult, but a picture is worth a thousand words. The video below is the perfect example of how people who draw their values from warmth see things differently than people who draw their values from strength.

For a detailed understanding of the difference between strength and warmth values I highly recommend the book Compelling People, by John Neffinger and, Matthew Kohut. It is a fascinating and compelling, pun intended, read. But for the purposes of this article, we will look at strength and warmth from the lenses of the Primary Colors Personality Tests and Insight Tools, and the short video below will help you understand the difference between strength and warmth values and why understand that difference is extremely important.


Primary Colors Relationship Personality Tests and insight tools depart from the limited, traditional four-quadrant personality types made popular by Carl Jung and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for several significant reasons. Over the years there have been many 'me too' versions of the four quadrant personality test, whether these tests use colors, animals, initials, whatever, they are all based upon the same four quadrant model. Primary Colors Personality Tests are also not based on the Big 5 personality theories that are statistically based, used primarily in organizations and more complicated to understand & implement. Instead, The Primary Colors Relationship

Personality test series uses the artist's color wheel (see examples in photo to your left) as the base upon which to help people understand their unique blend of color personality tendencies, as well as, learning to understand the color-blend of tendencies of the people they love. This means that Primary Colors Tests use the same six colors on the personality color wheel, three primary colors, red, yellow and blue, and three secondary colors orange, green and purple which come from blending the original three primary colors together, as are used on the artist's color wheel. This artist's color wheel has been used by artists for thousands of years to create everything that the eye can see, and all that the mind can imagine. This metaphorical pallet base makes explaining complex blends of behaviors, and personality tendencies much easier to understand. Each of the six colors represents unique personality tendencies that color the way we think, perceive and relate to our surroundings. Each color represents a person's unique strengths and talents, and even more importantly, they can help people understand what destructive extreme personality color tendencies are limiting, inhibiting and destructive to their dreams, happiness and relationships. This series of tests were designed to help strengthen and heal broken relationships and are also contextual. That means that you take the tests with a life context in mind, like who is the personal you, is the personal you different from the professional you. Many times that is the case because these different life contexts require different skills and talents. It also allows you to explore the context of your 'ideal self'. If you could be the best you possible, what would tendencies would be define you? All of this information is very important when it comes to painting the canvas of your life, but this expert series of personality tests also uses this metaphorical life pallet to help you discover what drives your core set of values, that drive your belief systems; strength or warmth? By understanding what primarily drives the values that determine your perspectives, views and opinions versus the values that primarily drive others perspectives, views and opinions, you are better equipped to effectively resolve conflict, by understanding and positively communicating with those with whom you most often find yourself in conflict. Warmth values are all about safety, love, kindness, compassion, healing, helping, giving and forgetting. While strength values promote effectiveness, efficiency, responsibility, commitment, self-control, discipline and determination.


It is not that warmth values are better or worse than strength values, or visa versa, they are actually important compliments of each another. Imagine that warmth values represent the top of a tree. They represent the pretty leaves, fruit and they dance in the sunshine. But the strength values represent the roots of the tree. Without it's roots, a tree can get none of the water and nutrients it needs from the soil. We are trained that the roots are less attractive than the leaves on top, but a tree requires both its roots and its leaves to thrive.

If your partner draws their values from the warmth part of the colors personality wheel, it is likely that you draw your values from the strength part. Why? Because, like trees, human beings must have both strength and warmth in order to survive, so we are usually attracted to someone who draws from the opposite side of the values tree. The tricky part is that if we do not understand this law of survival, we can judge that people who do not draw their values from the same part of the tree, or the same end of the relationship personality colors wheel as we do are wrong, or misinformed or even misguided and immoral.

Why is understanding the difference and importance of both warmth and strength values important? Because a great deal of interpersonal conflict, anxiety and feelings of disrespect, as well as political and global conflict comes from adopting the belief that one side is better, more moral, more important, etc. Look at our political parties. They despise and feel distain for each other. They do not respect the values that each hold dear because they do not realize that in order to thrive, strength and warmth must work together. While a strength focus and a warmth focus, and even strong and warm contributions may look very different, they are not opposed to one another. They are vitally necessary for the tree of life to continue to survive and thrive.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared the thought below in his speech to the 1967 Southern Christian Leadership Conference and I believe that it sums up how important it is that we have both strength and warmth working in harmony:

“One of the greatest problems of history is that the concepts of love and power

have usually been contrasted as opposites. . .

What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive,

and the love without power is sentimental and anemic.”

Personality and relationship expert Dawn Billings is the author of 15 books and hundreds of articles and is the architect of the RelationshipHelp.com programs, including Relationship Help At Home. Now you can bring Dawn and her 45 years of expertise and experience into the comfort of your own home as you learn the secrets to nurturing and strengthening great relationships.


Dawn is the Executive Director of the Relationship Help Resort in Arizona and the author of the Primary Colors Relationship Personality Tests and Insight Tools.

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