How we feel about ourselves—whether we respect ourselves—determines the quality of our life. It determines everything, from our overall disposition to our capacity for success in business and in our relationships. We all want to feel valuable and valued, we want to love ourselves and to be loved. This goes without saying. Why then do so many of us so often find ourselves in contrary situations, where we feel internally or externally judged, criticized, humiliated, or simply unappreciated, not heard, unseen?
When we encounter this from the external world, we feel like a victim. When we experience it from within, we might wake up with the feeling of dread, shame, self-pity, or a feeling that says “something is wrong with me.” In either case, this contributes little to our well-being. I have observed that the most common attempt to rectify such states of mind comes in some form of running away from these unpleasant feelings and situations and in doing our best to “create” self-worth. Usually through success, achievements, or relationships. But how one can try to build self-worth on a foundation of unworthiness, is this really possible?
In so doing, aren’t we creating a mask to just-barely cover up our true feelings, our insecurities? Won’t the reliability of such a mask depend entirely upon the necessity of maintaining a said career or said relationship’s success? Isn’t that quite a dependence we are creating for our sense of self-worth and sense of joy?
What a trap. I’ve been there. Like many of us, I share this primal wound of “I’m not good enough.” I too have made countless attempts–many of them objectively ‘successful’–to run away from this inner feeling, inner belief. I have sought validation through relationships, money, social recognition, the feeling of power in various forms. And I was fortunate enough to obtain many of these indicators of success early in life, to recognize them as illusions and a potential trap and, trusting this gut feeling, to have gone off in search of a more lasting and genuine source of contentment.
Having done so, I have learned that one cannot come to feel worthy by means of escaping from one’s sense of unworthiness. Just as one cannot find love by seeking to use it as an escape from self-hatred. Power cannot be derived by escaping places of powerlessness. We must deal with the underlying cause. Only by consciously facing and diving into our sense of unworthiness do we integrate it. In this way, we heal places within us that were not recognized for their inherent worth and beauty. Eventually, self-worth ceases to be a choice. It simply grows within us, becoming something that we can’t be – worthy. By recognizing the places within us where we don’t love ourselves and giving them unconditional loving attention, they become loved, we become love. By diving inside of our insecurities, we see them, accept them, and become whole. Then, instead of being an object in search of “goodies” to make itself come alive, we become the subject and we grow to recognize ourselves for what we are. We are love, we are perfection, we are freedom. This is true courage – meeting ourselves. Knowing this, will you dare to dive consciously into your vulnerabilities?