Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Amanda Rogers to learn more about her click here
A brilliant young artist named Smother
Was envied by all of his brothers.
But his sense of self-worth
Was diminished since birth
So he sought validation from others.
Get this…when we’re born we like ourselves. We have no negative self-talk. In other words, we’re not pulled from our mother’s womb apologetic for having taken 22 hours to make our way down the birth canal. We don’t chastise ourselves if we drip placenta on the doctor’s shoes. We don’t worry that the crying woman holding us is disappointed in the size of your ears.
Yep. Babies enter this world with a clean self-image slate. The newborn feels that all is right in his world and radiates a sense of warm satisfaction with the first infusion of the mother’s milk. It’s not till later that we exchange a natural animal sense of our basic worth, for a contrived symbolic one. Man has become the only animal in nature that vitally depends on a symbolic constitution of his worth. And the rest of his life is devoted to the protection, maintenance and aggrandizement of the symbolic edifice of his self-esteem.
At first he nourishes it in the appraisal of his playmates, later it may depend on good grades, a baseball trophy or scoring the lead in the High school production of Pippin. Finally in our 20’s one comes to earn his self-esteem by performing in the roles that society provides; doctor, lawyer, struggling actor who goes from obscurity to being the Verizon guy on tv.. .Then we get our vital sense of who we are by repeating , “I am a good doctor because I heal people,” “ I am a good lawyer because I help people,” “ I am a good actor because I was chosen to be the thug who shoots the gun that kills the character to the right of Robert Deniro in Goodfellas. “Did ya see that movie? Yep, that was me!”
How do we let go of the symbols society gives us to evaluate our worth and get back to the basic natural worth we were given at birth? How do we stop the images and inner monologue and embrace our worth on the fact that we just “are.” That simple. And we are satisfied. How do we reclaim our basic worth and radiate a sense of warm satisfaction?
I’d like to suggest a few ideas…
1) Meditate yourself back in time and recall what you enjoyed doing before you did the things necessary for a strong college application.
2) Talk to your parents or an older sibling. Ask them to describe what you were like from the very beginning – your temperament, interest, quirks.
3) Start protecting your current accomplishments from the evaluation of others. Paint a beautiful picture, play a piano sonata, write a poem, run a 10k in thirty minutes. Then keep it to yourself. What does that feel like? Can you give yourself enough praise and validation that you don’t need the approval and opinion of others?
This is our birthright… to be who we are. To not make life decisions based on the level of approval we get from others. What kind of a life would open up for us if we could do that? Think about it.
Photo by: MichaelEC