Our sense of worthiness lies at the root of almost everything that happens in our lives. It affects the way we relate to others and ourselves, the way we hide from life or throw ourselves into it, and the way we pretend to be weak or exert disproportionate power onto others. In the name of feeling worthy we will often betray our values and ourselves. Losing our sense of belonging simply feels too risky compared to listening to what we know to be true.
When the outside becomes the compass of my sense of value
Outside compliments and attention serve as a compensation for our inner sense of value. Most moments of feeling valuable are derived externally, from other people’s praise rather than an innate understanding of our own significance. However, when we look outside ourselves for value we betray ourselves and pay the high price of mediocrity. We’re continuously challenged to choose between the outer and inner forces to establish our own self-worth. Self-respect, self-love, and a belief in our basic goodness have to fight against giving in to feelings of social anxiety and shame, the fear of isolation, and the expression of suppressed anger. Our need to belong is the core trigger and nourishing force behind our tendency to give in to these pressures.
Life presents us with many mountain tops of success and valleys of failure. In these valleys, we face embarrassment, exclusion, shame, and guilt. So how can we retain a sense of worthiness, especially during times of distress? Particularly when we feel guilt and shame, it seems almost impossible to reclaim our innocence and give ourselves the chance to start over.