Personal Worth on Trial
Constantly Measuring Self-Worth Hurts
BY: Troy Murphy | June 2014
Some children suffer insecurity because of a bully parent. Other children have healthy childhoods but, none the less, suffer from insecurity; maybe from a long-forgotten experience. The causes are many and complex, woven together, stacked on top of the moment, and generating emotion. Some simply are born more sensitive, susceptible to experience, or with personal characteristics that attract unfavorable responses. Many unknown factors combine to construct the insecure personality. We can’t blame the person for insecurity. We don’t know why they feel what they do. They feel it and it influences their relationships. A pernicious feeling continuously nags convincing them of their insufficiency. “I’m not good enough,” constantly echoes, stirring debilitating shame. Proving personal worth becomes an unfulfilled venture, always striving to convince others, what the heart keeps denying. For many, a little demon whispers, “you can’t do this. You aren’t good enough. They won’t listen.” No matter the outside proof, doubts of personal suitability persist.
The go-to stupid solution often given to the insecure, a snippety little comment—with intent to help, “you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself.” Yea, well thanks. Our inner-hunger for proof remains—logically we know it is wrong. Continually seeking assurance, we try to fill the void that cannot be filled. Maybe the Freudian super-ego drives this disease; the integrated pecking from a displeased parent lives in the cells, continually reminding, you are a failure. Insecurity constantly craves acceptance. Insecurities and the accompanying feelings of shame, guilt and sorrow interfere with personal growth and disrupt relationships. The insecurity creates the reasons to believe we are inferior.
Self-worth differs from self-confidence. Healthy self-confidence corresponds with trust in personal ability. Self-confidence strengthened by a pattern of successes is built into reality. If we continually chase dreams beyond our capacity, risk resources on simple hopes, our self-confidence is swollen and may misdirect. Self-worth isn’t based on performance. Our worth is immeasurable. Personal Judgments of self-worth is completely subjective; usually based on engrained feelings from the past. Achievements, acceptance, and even love all fall short of changing the deeply engrained feelings of being fundamentally flawed.
Perhaps established insecurities can’t be discarded—remaining a part of our psychological make-up. If this is the case, we must identify the feelings for what they are: a remnant of our experiential past. We may be destined to continually hear the unhelpful commentary that resides in our mind. We must learn to act despite the bothersome internal commentary constantly echoing insufficiency. Proper action can bolster self-confidence.
By questioning the legitimacy of the denigrating feelings, we stand strong against the normal day to day blunders—mistakes become lessons in humanity instead of proof of inferiority. Our imperfections become challenges to overcome. We learn from the mistakes only when they don’t devastate self-worth. If we seek self-worth through applauded achievements then the normal errors of striving devastate, standing as evidence of inadequacy.
If we feel we aren’t good enough, we project this onto every endeavor. Certainly, we have talents and skills that when refined can summon self-confidence. Simply feeling not good enough destroys hope, and deters action. We must act, not chaotically, but pushing forward towards achievable goals. When personal imperfections clash with personal worth, we struggle. The conflict encourages psychic distortions to relieve suffering. Our defensive thoughts infiltrate and disrupt clear vision. We either become too timid to explore or excessively bravado.
Challenge your condemning thoughts. Recognize your feelings of guilt, sorrow and shame without escaping through defensive projections, denials and justifications. When constantly driven to prove worth (worth we already have), we drain precious psychic resources better directed to constructive responses to life’s challenges. We are who we are! We may unfairly judge value against unachievable measurements, convicting and punishing or souls for failing perfection. We may not stop all the thoughts, but we can identify the nasty demons whispering in our mind.
Accept who you are. Actively observe the mind with curiosity and creativity. Make corrections where necessary, apologize where needed and move forward.