Self-worth – the holy grail of wellness gurus, therapists, coaches, and mentors. We teach self-worth when it’s already felt. This causes a significant problem for those who struggle.
Those who know their “worth” have a foundation and a basis for it. They know implicitly, without thought. It is felt.
When you become infatuated with a person, the process of handing over your self-worth is like the wind: invisible but felt.
The feeling is initially good. A euphoria erupts upon seeing the person and interacting with them. This “vibe” that we are told to trust… that feeling of safety, happiness, maybe even nostalgia… how do you not get caught up in it?
For those who naturally resist, who feel resistance early, they will never understand those who do not. They resist because the self-worth is already instilled. That implicit knowing allows them to operate in the world with strong boundaries.
If you aren’t one of those people, then what? You wander around, becoming enthralled by others. The surrender feels like selflessness but it’s survival.
People will say “You’re relying too much on others for your self-worth” and instinctively you will not see it that way because your feelings are trying to help you survive.
Proponents of rationality and reason all praise implicit knowledge. Perhaps it is the mark of genius but there’s nothing a genius can really earn on his/her own as far as implicit knowing goes. Implicit knowledge is far beneath the conscious surface. Mathematics/arithmetic is to them, like learning to ride a bike. For the rest of us we must build a pair of extra legs before we learn to ride it at all. Math teachers or others who understand math will never have to engage in this and so the crucial process for the math-challenged child is missing.
This too, applies to self-worth.
Self-worth must be felt before it can be known on the surface. This is why we are desperately trying to find ways to calm the nervous system, connect with our inner children, and so on. Perhaps in the cradle of calm that elusive knowing can develop.
This calm is almost impossible to achieve when an adult of low self-worth is navigating the demons of adulthood. Nothing feels safe, they cling to what is perceived as safe (which usually is just consistency). The world slowly eats them alive because they are defenceless before an army of people who can summon self-worth with ease.
In order to prove to ourselves we are worthy we will be hypnotized often and to a strange degree, by people who do not fear things that we fear. We perceive their strength and feel safety. It is even more painful then, to acknowledge that this person, who seems to hold the key to so much of your anguish, will not care. Will not understand what it means.
They do not have to either – it is sad but it is not your strength to draw upon. It is theirs.
The feeling that accompanies us after is the worst sort of loneliness. The kind that haunts you. Knowing that there’s a way to know yourself but you don’t feel it. You only feel it around them and that creates a connection which is best broken by rejection or no contact.
Oh I do lament it, because it feels like self-abandonment not to seek safety.