by Milan Karmeli
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.
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.
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.
Once a person has broken a significant rule, our opinion of him changes.
He moves to the other side of the line, the
dark side, even if it was a momentary lapse in judgment. He is now
marked by that bad choice for life. From there the opportunities to
return to normalcy are limited.
But regardless of our failures, our natural right is to be here even when we’re excluded by certain parts of society for breaking their norms, rules, or values.
This was especially painful when we were being
compared to others and didn’t seem to measure up. The resulting
inner struggle is an expression of the unworthiness we felt and
continues to reflect in our personality.
What we really need is a deep understanding of our humanity and how it got distorted for us along the way, but achieving this is indeed a huge undertaking.
Whenever we base worthiness on "exclusivity," it
cannot be real. Whenever we are inferior or superior, there cannot
be a truthful sense of worthiness. Therefore, it’s much more about
simplicity and it is not about being special. Ironically it is our
wish to be "special" that keeps us from feeling worthy.
Instead of being our natural selves, we learn to be righteous and moral, feeding off of values based on other people’s experiences rather than trusting our own.
We learn to emphasize our body and outer appearance while neglecting our essence. Taking this approach to life leads us to try to use power over the people and the world around us.
This can take on seemingly endless shapes and distort our sense of reality, making us believe we’re in control.
This means allowing ourselves to move at our own pace, even though most of us are used to letting others shape that pace for us. We mostly move according to the pace of others and have lost touch with our own. This "availability to our self" needs time and practice.
Remembering that we have boundaries and natural needs are important cornerstones in the process.
The kind of humility that accepts our humanity and which allows room for doubts and failures, as well as moments of greatness. A humility that accepts our dark side as part of our confrontation with the complexity of life.
A humility which also accepts the limitations of our body and mind.
And most of all, we need patience...