Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Imagine this:  A two-year old girl falls down a well and is in danger of drowning.  Without hesitation, the community invests incredible amounts of time, effort, and money into saving this young girl.  And fortunately for everyone involved, they do.  But why would they do this?  Why would they save this baby girl, who has done nothing of note, contributed nothing to society?  I mean, she has no money, she is often self-centered and naughty, and she doesn’t have many friends or loved ones besides her immediate family.  So why would people care about her well-being?

As you well know, it is because this two-year old girl, this loveable toddler, has unconditional human worth.  Regardless of her age, her status, or her contribution to society, this tiny little person has worth, and she is just as precious as any other person on this earth.  Perhaps she has not done much of “worth” in her two years, but she certainly has worth as a human being.  Regardless of who she is, she has a core-self, and that core is worthy of love, respect, and positive regard.  Just as everyone’s is. 

…As it is defined by psychologists, self- or core-worth means that all people are indeed equal.  It means that we are equal because we are human.  This kind of value or worth is not comparable.  It is not competitive.  And it is not conditional.  The worth or value of a person does not need to be earned, nor does it need to be proved.  It just exists.  It always has, and it always will, so long as this person is human.  And as long as they are human, their worth needs to be recognized, appreciated, and accepted. 

So, if it so easy to answer such questions about saving a two-year old girl, to see her value as a person, I wonder why so many people do not value themselves in such a way.  I wonder why so many people do not have self-worth, or question their value, even while they recognize the value of others.  Why they might think that because they may not fit a certain mold, that they are not as worthy as those who do.  I wonder why people are so hard on themselves when they make mistakes, when something does not go as they had hoped, or when people treat them poorly.  Too, I wonder why some people assign more or less value to a person because of what they do or do not have, how they do or do not behave, the mold that they do or do not fit.

…Quite often, we allow ourselves and others to be defined by externals: by successes and achievements, families and friends, abilities and appearances, social status, material belongings, and the perception of other people.  Of course, externals may influence many parts of our lives.  They may impact our thoughts, our feelings, or our behaviors, and they may influence how we relate to others and the world that we are surrounded by.  They may influence how we experience our worth, but they do not change our value in and of itself.   

So what happens when such things do influence our core worth?  What happens when we allow external factors to define or equate who we are, be it for better or for worse? When we undervalue ourselves, and overvalue our surroundings?

When this happens, when our core value is based on something extrinsic rather than intrinsic, we become unstable, conditional, and undervalued.  This happens because we have allowed something outside of ourselves to trump the internal, most true parts of ourselves.  We then lose sight of our core essence, of who we are and the beauty within us.  We lose our authenticity and our security. 

…When worth is separate from externals, however, we experience life much differently.  All of a sudden, we are much more resilient, much more stable, objective, and reasonable.  Our perspective transforms and our thoughts and feelings become more positive.  We are able to distinguish feelings about events from feelings about ourselves.  We are kinder to ourselves, more patient, rational, compassionate, and loving.  When we separate our worth from externals, we experience both ourselves and our world much more openly.

And so, my precious birds, look within yourselves and see your worth.  Embrace your human core and the essence of who you are.  Appreciate that which you are surrounded by and have gratitude, but do not measure your worth by these things.  Instead, hold them tightly to your heart and revel instead in the beauty that is uniquely you.  Remember that your core, your worth, is whole and complete, but it is not completed.  That you are an ever-changing work of art of immeasurable value to the world, to your loved ones, and to yourself. 

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