Self-Worth, the Stars and the Universe…

What exactly do we mean when we say someone has low self-worth? Do we mean that they do not value themselves and their place in the world? That they place others as more important or worthy? And if we agree that this is so, does that imply that they do not feel they matter, or does it mean that there is something to fix, and once fixed, then the worth can kick in and the rewards that life can offer will be attained, or at least come within reach?

That has certainly been so in my case, and I can still have spells when all of a sudden my sense of worth plummets. I have a week when life is getting on top of me and I’m surrounded by reflections showing that I’m not up to scratch – the house has suddenly become messy, the sink clogged with unwashed dishes for a few days on end. Work feels tedious, people annoy me, or I feel like I’m not bringing as much value to my job as I could. I take less care with my grooming, I feel fat and like a frump, or I feel old and past it… the list can go on and on and the reasoning behind the self-critical talk can be ridiculous… just an excuse to bring myself down a peg, and then give-up and take solace in checking out by watching TV or overeating, or surfing the net and countless other distractions.

So where does this attitude of self-critique and sense of unworthiness come from? Are we born with it? Have we ever looked at a baby and thought, “My goodness, that child has self-worth issues!” I certainly have not. A baby lets us know exactly what they want in no uncertain terms, and doesn’t seem to ask “Am I worth it?” They innately know that it is not even a question that needs to be considered.

Can we therefore surmise that the sense of self-worth is with us at birth, and that lack of self-worth is learned? And that all learned behaviour serves a purpose, which we perceive makes it ‘easier’ to survive? As children we develop our awareness of the external world and learn what is acceptable to others and what is not. We learn the social norms and standards of our specific culture from the outside in and are rewarded for some achievements and behaviours and punished for others.

At the same time, the trust in our inner voice and promptings fades. Our self-worth becomes a measure of recognition from the external world. Most of us get caught up in this miasma to some degree. No parent is perfect and able to always understand what the child needs. Let’s be frank, as parents we muck up. We’re not always attentive and in-tune with ourselves, let alone with a child, and if there are siblings or a demanding partner involved, it can easily go off the rails at times.

As children grow and learn to negotiate life with others, we see different behaviours – no two children in the same family will respond in the same way to the same circumstances. One child may be naturally confident whilst their sibling nurses hurts (perceived or real) for a long time. They may try different ways of getting love and attention and feeling good about themselves in ways specific to them.

I remember at one time, when I was about nine or ten, deciding that I was going to change my attitude and become ‘acceptable.’ How I got to the point of feeling I was not good enough is another story, but suffice to say it was a combination of how I was in the family, the reactions and messages I received, and what I did with that information. At one time I chose to be super ‘good’ and ‘helpful’ because I’d taken on the beliefs that I was self-centred, unattractive, a bit nasty and in many ways, simply not good enough.

Growing up in the fifties I read a lot of books and watched movies where most of the heroines had virtuous qualities that I clearly lacked. So, looking for redemption, I attempted to re-shape myself in their image. I dutifully devoted myself to household tasks that I did not enjoy to get positive attention, and focussed on being helpful, a ‘good girl,’ loving sister, grateful, appreciative, uncomplaining etc.

It makes me cringe to write this down. Of course, it was a short-lived week or so of reshaping myself in that particular way. Although I was loving and caring by nature, I was trying to shape myself to an ideal, a goal external to me, to achieve a sense of inner settlement and worth in the eyes of others and, quite frankly, it was unsustainable and not coming from any inner feeling that flowed naturally. It was forced and against my rebellious grain.

But to be honest, the same pattern has played out in many different guises throughout my long life. As an adolescent trying to be attractive to boys in crazy stuff, like not farting in their presence, dieting to get as close as possible to the body image and shape presented at the time, being unobtrusive, interested, patient, undemanding… anything but real. Is it any wonder that being the real me felt like an unknown exotic foreign land, and life was extremely unsettling? I didn’t know what I needed to do to be acceptable, I just knew it had to be different.

The truth is that when I am feeling comfortable in my own skin, I do not question my value; I just get on with it. I look after myself. I make sure that I have enough sleep, that I have clean clothes that feel great to wear in my wardrobe, that my shoes are comfortable, that there is a selection of food in the pantry and fridge to sustain me, and I enjoy my work and my relationships with friends, colleagues, family and the general public. I do not hold back.

However, when faced with a challenge, the depth of self-worth is revealed. Do I back myself up or am I so timid that at the first hint of criticism I withdraw back into my shell? It takes courage to step out of comfort and risk expanding into a larger version of ourselves. Like a snake we must shed the skin that constricts and constrains our growth. Or a tadpole that must change form to evolve, or a caterpillar that builds a cocoon to midwife its emergence as the butterfly. We are constantly called to more.

There is also a deeper level of self-worth to be considered. We are not here to live mundane, safe, comfortable lives, but to constantly unfold into our ever-expanding potential. As humans we are not constrained by the limitations of species specific instincts, but hard-wired to attune ourselves to the innermost calling of our Soul that, in one form or another, forever beckons us to ask questions, to seek justice for all, equality, brotherhood.

The other night I stepped outside to drink in the beauty of the ‘heavenly firmament,’ the Milky Way constellation that we are blessed with in the Southern Hemisphere night sky. I felt held and inspired by the reflection of beauty, constancy, ancient timelessness, expansion and home that the night sky brings.

As I lay down to sleep, I literally had stars in my eyes and felt connected to the glory of the universe that we are all part of, because as science has presented, we are made of the same particles. We literally are all equal on the basic physical level. The stars just are and they shine because that is their nature; they do not hide one day because they do not feel good enough to shine. Sailors set course by the stars; ancient structures, such as the pyramids, measure the movements of the heavens, and the stars are a constant reminder that we are, in essence, forever part of the infinite, expanding and eternal grandness that is our universe. To be less because of so-called low self-worth issues is simply an excuse to not come out of hiding and comfort and shine forth.

We don’t describe people as having high self-worth, we see them as shining lights who are leading the way. People like Natalie Benhayon, whose love for humanity is so great that she simply and playfully shines a light on The Way, works tirelessly but joyfully to inspire all women and men to re-ignite their own fire, their true worth and to shine forth too.

By Anne Hart, BSocSc, Goonellabah

Related Reading:
I Am Amazing just for Being Me
Self-Esteem is No Longer an Issue – Appreciating, Celebrating and Loving My Body
A Sacred Relationship with Self – Inspired by Natalie Benhayon

523 thoughts on “Self-Worth, the Stars and the Universe…

  1. A question I have been asking myself recently is ‘where am I on my list of priorities?’ Am I putting myself at the top of the list or am I left somewhere at the bottom, to deal with my stuff when I’m already exhausted and depleted from focusing on others first. Things like renewing my parking permit or filling in my tax return often get left and then I have an excuse to self bash and criticise myself for not living up to the self imposed picture I have created. I can feel by shifting this old pattern I will naturally create space for so much more as it’s utterly exhausting walking through life carrying all this baggage of unresolved stuff.

  2. Like a lighthouse shines its light so sailors can know their way, when we shine our lights, our fellow sisters and brothers know their way and that they can shine their light as well. When we doubt ourselves, and have this lack of self-worth, that is what we are reflecting out, which shows others that this is normal when it is not.

  3. ‘A baby lets us know exactly what they want in no uncertain terms, and doesn’t seem to ask “Am I worth it?” They innately know that it is not even a question that needs to be considered.’ When you put it down like this it’s very clear how ridiculous it is to ‘have’ self worth issues. Like you say ‘To be less because of so-called low self-worth issues is simply an excuse to not come out of hiding and comfort and shine forth.’ A bit of an ouch at my end but I know with my whole body this is true.

  4. Thank you for this excellent expose on self worth issues. It was great Thank you for this excellent expose on self worth. It was great to get this explanation as I have struggled with this issue from time to time also in my life. To understand that it is actually a self made issue or a disguise we wear to hide our light behind is very sobering but healing as well.

    1. My understanding is that lack of self worth is self-created, it is not real in a sense that these issues are not who we are.

  5. Anne, this is brilliant — showing us exactly that we are part of the Universe and that our self-worth issues are never based on any truth but a denial of the heavenly beauty that we come from. In a nutshell. So, whenever we are feeling low — we need to connect, connect to our truth — of who we know. But this takes the power of us choosing to become free of the entanglement and stand out in the beauty that we are representative of.

  6. Wow Anne, you are a BRILLIANT writer!!!!!

    No more hiding, time to come out and share your amazing wisdom with the world.

    Anne I can feel your amazingness and the more you come to appreciate how amazing you most definitely are, the greater your expansion will be. You will also be sharing more of your divinity with our universe. Win Win all-round for everyone…. and your the catalyst.

  7. Oh there are so many elements of this blog that shine to call me back to a deeper knowing that I have stepped to the side of. “Like a snake we must shed the skin that constricts and constrains our growth” The constraint is life-threatening and this morning I can feel the importance of shedding this skin to live the life I am being called to live, in full.

  8. I am aware that low self-worth harms not only the person hiding but, like the star, means others also lose their navigation because their mechanism for measurement has altered its brightness and it, therefore, alters the reflection offered to others. If others don’t step in to fill that void then the ripple effect could be enormous. We have a duty to stay true to ourselves, to shine brightly and consistently, we were born that way after all.

  9. ‘As children grow and learn to negotiate life with others’ – and once we realise this it opens up a whole new understanding of all those seemingly little moments from our childhood that stand out as significant and poignant. We know who we are deep down but the years seem to erode our connection until something re-awakens us, which for me was being introduced to the work of Serge Benhayon – a moment when I began to return to who I truly was all along……..

  10. Realising that self-worth issues are a learnt behaviour is a powerful exposé as by knowing that they then feel much more achievable to heal as they are not something that is actually ‘us’ but something gained and therefore can be discarded.

  11. We will never measure up while we keep the focus on the outside, our value and worth has to come from inside ourselves, ‘Our self-worth becomes a measure of recognition from the external world.’

  12. Thanks Anne, I’m feeling the constriction of an artificial skin that is shedding but the exposure feels a little vulnerable. Babies feel vulnerable – this is absolutely understood, appreciated and honoured and I can choose the same for myself.

  13. This is so true Anne, babies are not born with self-worth issues. It looks like we accumulate them as we grow up. I am seeking more and more young children adopting a lack of self-worth, and this makes me wonder what is going on, why are children at a very young age experiencing self-worth issues?

  14. To create a self worth issue or degrade ourselves and to feel the tension of this we must know our ‘worth’ to begin with and our true relationship with the universe. Otherwise low self worth would not be a problem and would just be the normal way of living.

  15. “We are not here to live mundane, safe, comfortable lives, but to constantly unfold into our ever-expanding potential” . . . beautifully said Anne! I love this blog as it made me laugh at myself. Oh, what a feeble excuse to stay comfortable declaring that I suffer from low self-esteem!

  16. Lack of self-worth is the result of a chain of disappointments. Others get disappointed because you do not match the image of what they expect from you and as a result, you also get disappointed with yourself because you could not match it either, and because you have disappointed the others.

  17. ‘The truth is that when I am feeling comfortable in my own skin, I do not question my value; I just get on with it.’ This is a lovely way to be Anne. I have been gradually arriving at this place in my life and it feel beautiful. Highly recommended!

  18. When our self-worth is based on recognition from others and the applause of the world, we are on shaky grounds and nothing that comes towards us in the form of fame, fortune and accolades is ever enough. The inner emptiness remains.

  19. “The truth is that when I am feeling comfortable in my own skin, I do not question my value; I just get on with it.” Very true – when we feel full or ourselves we look after, care and love ourselves. Looking to others to gain acceptance is a hiding to nothing. I know I’ve been there. As Shakespeare says in Hamlet “to thine own self be true.”

  20. Self worth – we know it as children and then we let it go to gain recognition from others. If we can let it go then we can invite it back by learning to simply be ourselves, no matter what.

  21. Ha ha, yes and it is very beautiful to watch and connect with them, ‘The stars just are and they shine because that is their nature; they do not hide one day because they do not feel good enough to shine.’

  22. As a child and in growing up I remember how I could have what I wanted if I fulfilled certain criteria laid down by parents or teachers or schoolmates. If I did what was expected of me by them then I would gain ‘the rewards that life can offer’ from material things to opportunities, to attention, care and love. When this did not happen I felt let down, betrayed. Later this was further confirmed in relationships with boys and then men. They were not playing by the rules they had set down. There was one rule for one and a different for another. No wonder we get confused and our sense of values begins to wobble and gradually gets eroded. As women we tend to put up with a lot and even get rewarded for keeping this false way of living going. It may be a long road to reconnect with that awesome being that we left way back when but boy is it worth it, reclaiming our connection to the magnificence of the universe and the magnificence that is also us.

  23. The way you express is deeply beautiful Anne. This blog stirs up something inside of me and shows me that is absolutely possible to accept myself exactly as I am while I evolve and grow. This is what we are made of and made for.

  24. This is a fantastic sharing Anne, you most certainly have great wisdom to impart. Many will continue to be inspired by your example every time we re read your words and see that it is absolutely possible to have real value in this world all we need to do is allow ourselves to see it!

  25. I can see how often I have used my claimed ‘lack of self-worth issue’ as an excuse to not really show the world the real me and have held back my natural light-hearted playfulness whenever I came across people who intimidated me. More and more, though, I have felt an inner strength that has at its foundation a stronger connection with my inner self that really helps me hold myself in any difficult situation, as it is so exhausting to play games of being small and identifying with low self-worth and constantly beating myself up over mistakes or other things, instead of learning and moving on.

  26. I fully agree with you Anne – Natalie is like a big shining star lighting the way for all to return to their true power and shine forth equally so.
    “People like Natalie Benhayon, whose love for humanity is so great that she simply and playfully shines a light on The Way, works tirelessly but joyfully to inspire all women and men to re-ignite their own fire, their true worth and to shine forth too”.

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