There are many different terms that one can use to describe having value and worth. These can be self esteem, self confidence and self belief for example. And self worth is a phrase that I believe encompasses all of these aspects.
Self worth is something that is inherent and based on what is internal. It is not based on external approval or acceptance. This worth cannot be destroyed and neither can it be elevated to a higher level; it is not based on a duality, it just is.
However, even if one does not feel of value on the inside, it does not mean they will appear this way on the outside. And this is because one can still appear as confident to others, regardless of what is going on inside.
What this means is that one can achieve a sense of worth by living up to and fulfilling another person's ideas and values. Here one will feel a sense of empowerment and acceptance through pleasing other people.
And as this form of worth is based on fulfilling external requirements; it is not rooted in anything substantial. It can also cause one to feel that their worth is dependent on other people.
This can often lead to people going one of two ways and to alternate between the two. Either one can constantly try to live up to other peoples standards or one can rebel and actively seek to displease others.
And like any type of addiction; in order for one to feel the same affect, there needs to be a constant increase of stimulus. This means one has to always be ready to be or do what others want. And to the rebel this can mean being even more apathetic and indifferent to others.
Playing A Role
What is then occurring is the acting out of a role and the denial of one's true expression. Gaining a sense of worth and value through others, then becomes normal and accepted. And once this happens it is no longer questioned
or looked upon with critical eyes.
It has formed part of ones unconscious mind and colours ones perception of life. These roles become part of who one is and the ego mind comes to identity with them.
The Ego Mind
The reason the ego mind comes to identify with them is because they are familiar. And as they are familiar, they are safe. And to the ego mind, it does not matter if the roles that one plays are dysfunctional and disempowering.
If what the ego mind has come to associate as familiar and safe, is no longer accurate it will create conflict. And this conflict will be between what one wants and what one feels safe with at a deeper level.
It would seem strange that one could feel comfortable (safe and familiar) with something that is in direct opposition, to what one truly wants to express and be.
Because in order for one be in tune with their own sense of value and worth; one needs to feel safe to do so. This means that one has the self worth to express who they are and feels supported in doing so.
Due to these roles feeling so familiar and comfortable, it may seem as though they are how life is and that there is no other option. These roles can be overwhelming and affect one on many different levels.
Ones thoughts, emotions, feelings and sensations will be triggered and ones brain will also release all kinds of chemicals as a result. And like a cloud that covers the sky; one's ability to see clearly will be severely challenged.
This ability to feel comfortable playing a role and achieving worth by pleasing other people had to start somewhere. And these patterns of behaviour were formed at some point.
And this is where ones younger years come into focus. Because it is here that one needs the approval and acceptance of other people to survive.
At this age one is dependent on others to survive and so it is clear that one has very little value to offer at this stage. This stage marks a time of needing and wanting from others. The importance of mirroring, attention, unconditional love and validation at this time cannot be emphasised enough.
Here the child looks to the people around to understand who it is and to the value that it has. If the child is validated and mirrored during the expression of its needs and wants, it will come to conclude that these are important.
This is a process that doesn't always happen and this means that the Childs needs and wants end up being dismissed. And this can happen to a certain degree or it can happen completely.
What then happens is the child has to fulfil the needs and wants of the parents. And the child has to do this to survive. Here the child will learn that being accepted and approved of is something that happens when it fulfils its caregiver's needs.
What this is telling the child is that the needs and wants that it has are not important. What are important, are the needs and wants of others. And the only way it will be accepted and approved of is by pleasing the caregivers. The child is not being told, either literally or symbolically, that it is accepted and approved off for who it is.
This creates a relationship that is based on the fulfilment of conditions and obligations. And there is nothing the child can do, because its survival depends on meeting these conditions and obligations. If the child doesn't do as the caregivers say it will have to deal with being and or feeling rejected, abandoned and isolated.
The Role Begins
What these moments do is lay down the foundations for one to see their worth as something that exists as a consequence of obligations and conditions being fulfilled. And this is only natural, after having experienced this from the very beginning.
Even before one has entered the 'real world' one has already been brought up to associate their value as being something that one achieves by gaining the approval and the acceptance of another person.
Same Old Story
However, as one is now an adult and what happened all those years ago happened as a child, why does one still perceive life in the same way?
This is due to regression and when one regress one becomes the wounded inner child. And at this moment one takes on the same inner processes and perceives reality in the same way.
And this wounded inner child is external in nature; it is constantly looking outside to be emotionally regulated. It doesn't have the same ability as an adult does for self regulation.
As one is the observer or the silent watcher of the wounded inner child, the ego mind and to experiences; it means that one is not enslaved to what happened.
The memories of these past traumatic events became frozen in the body and they will influence ones adult life. And this can only happen for as long as one is unaware of these memories. Through this process of letting go, one will be able to realise their inherent worth.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.