Our doubt concerning our self-worth is the main obstacle to our emotional and inter-relational harmony.
This doubt is the cause of our greatest fears such as being rejected, laughed at, ignored, unloved, and most of all, of being alone. So, how I am learning to Love Myself: Self-Love is not a Crime!
Loneliness and Doubt
Loneliness is the disease of our age, and its cause is self-doubt. Fear of being alone is perhaps our most ancient one. It comes from the fact that in the past, he who was not accepted was ostracized from the group. In those days, that did not mean simply feeling lonely, but also being unable to survive.
Another factor that makes us fear rejection or not being accepted by others is the fear of being punished by them or by God. We have been brought up to believe in a God, whose love is conditional, depending upon whether we are perfect in His/Her/Its eyes or not.
We receive messages from our parents and other important persons throughout our childhood years concerning whether and under what conditions we are good or worthy.
As children, we learn from adults that we must measure our self-worth by:
- What others think of us.
- The results of our efforts in school, our profession and life.
- Our appearance
- How we compare to others.
- How much we know.
- How much money we have.
- And various other conditions
Our doubt of our self-worth then becomes our greatest obstacle to inner peace, harmonious communication and loving relationships. These doubts are the foundation of most of our negative emotions and relationship conflicts.
If we had more self-acceptance, we would have less need to prove ourselves to others.
Then we would not feel offended so frequently and we could overlook others’ negativity and be at peace with them regardless of their behavior.
Let us now look at how we can increase and stabilize our self-acceptance.
The first step is to discover the situations in which we lose our sense of self-worth or self-acceptance.
The reasons we most often loose our feelings of self-worth are examined in the following questionnaire.
Obstacles to Loving Ourselves
In which situations do you lose your sense of self-love, self-worth, self- esteem or self-acceptance?
1. When others ask for your help and you do not say “yes”, or do not respond.
2. When you have made a mistake or have failed at some effort.
3. When others are more capable than you are at certain tasks or concerning certain qualities (i.e. intelligence, artistic ability, speech, sports, cooking, professional success, their children’s success, economically, making friends, employing disciplines).
4. When others attract more attention, esteem and respect in a group situation.
5. When others have offered more to you than you have offered them.
6. When you are not perfect.
7. When others criticize, are angry at or reject you.
8. When others do not agree with you or believe that you are wrong.
9. When others are able to manipulate you.
10. When you have “created” pain for others.
11. When you are not in harmony with your conscience.
The accompanying more detailed questionnaire will help us determine more clearly when we lose our feelings of self-worth. We suggest that as you read through it, you mark those items that might relate to you.
I Tend to Lose My Feelings of Self-Worth:
(Worth what; love, happiness, health, success, satisfaction?)
- When others criticize me, blame me, or do not approve of me.
- When others are angry with me.
- When my children, spouse or parents are not happy, healthy, successful, or satisfied.
- When I do not know as much as others around me.
- When I do not have an intimate relationship partner.
- When my house is not clean and in order.
- When my partner shows interest in others.
- If I am not successful professionally.
- If I do not have enough money.
- If I am not attractive to the opposite sex.
- If I do not make an impression on others.
- If I do not have many sexual successes.
- If others do not respect me.
- If my child is ill.
- If I do not have what others have.
- If I am not perfect.
- If I do not achieve many things.
- If others are able to cheat or mislead me.
- If I do not have
- If I do not do
- Other reasons
Social Programming or Conscience
Once we have established the particular situations or stimuli that obstruct our feelings of self-worth or self-acceptance, we will need to separate our answers into two groups.
1. Those which have to do with social programming and not with our conscience. In such a case, we need to analyze each reason separately as we attempt to discover and change the beliefs that cause us to lose our self-acceptance in those situations.
When we lose our feelings of self-worth because of social programming we are buying into societies illusions concerning who is worthy and who is not. We are measuring ourselves by superficial standards set by society such as money, appearance profession etc, and not by our conscience, such as honesty, love, sincerity, selflessness etc.
2. Situations in which we reject ourselves because our actions are not in alignment with our inner conscience. We behave toward others, as we would not like them to behave toward us. Our answers to 10 and 11 in the first questionnaire might indicate such situations.
In such cases, we are interested in how we could react differently in those situations so that our behavior is in tune with our conscience.
In these second cases which have to do with conscience, we will most often find that we behave in such ways because we are being controlled by the previous categories if social beliefs.
For example we tell lies (matter of conscience) because we believe that our self-worth depends on what others think about us and thus want to hide the truth from them
The final solution for the matter of self-worth is to realize that all beings deserve love and respect exactly as they are regardless of all their flaws simply because they are unique aspects of divine creation- just as all flowers and all of nature.
In such a case, we must not confuse one’s ability and/or morality with worthiness of love and respect. As aspects of divine creation all deserve love and respect regardless of ability or morality.
The difference is that those who have ability deserve positions of greater responsibility that those without. While those without morality do deserve our love and respect they may not deserve trust or freedom to move about in society, until they are healed of their problem.
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