Our quest for self-esteem takes us to great lengths, especially when we don’t get what we’re looking for.
It seems that we try harder to get what we want, to find the love we’re looking for, and we redouble our efforts to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We make ourselves more attractive, more appealing. We work out, we diet, we follow fashion, we inform ourselves better so we are and appear more knowledgeable, more worldly. We take on extra jobs, we moonlight, we push ourselves, often to the limit, to get what we want, to get more of what we need. But it happens that despite our best efforts, and our sincerest and most heartfelt desires and attempts, we come up short, and land up without or without enough of what we want and need. We still don’t get the golden girl or boy, someone else rides off with the object of our desire into the sunset to live happily ever after and we are left behind with the dross, and not the gold.
So what can we do about this? Is there another way we can go about fulfilling ourselves and enriching our lives? Well, it just so happens that we can, and we begin by getting to the bottom of what love and money really are, and what they have to do with our true selves. Once we understand this, we can see the road to happiness.
Both love and money are expressions and measures of our self-worth. They reflect the extent to which others value us. The more others value us, the more they demonstrate that by showing us love or giving us money or both. The amount of money I have in the bank is a measure of the how much or little others value me. The more I have, the more I am valued, and the more valuable I feel. The opposite is equally true, the less I have, the less others value me and the less worthy I feel myself to be. The amazing thing is that we can, and do, rightly or wrongly, measure our worth by simply reading a bank balance, and comparing it to others. Having more money means that I am better able to provide for my offspring, so they have a better chance of surviving and reproducing. The more I have, the more likely I am to continue living through my offspring and their offspring and to survive beyond my death. While this is not necessarily true, especially in our ever more complex social world, we nevertheless continue to be influenced by these considerations.
It is similar when it comes to love, the more I am loved by others, the greater the chances I will get to reproduce myself, and the more likely it is that I will continue to survive genetically through my offspring, and their offspring. My survivability is the same thing as my worth: the more worthy I am, the more likely I am to survive, even beyond my own living. So love and money are measures of worth, which means measure of the chances of survival, both in and beyond this life.
But here’s the thing: both love and money are expressions of the degree to which others value you. They reflect the extent to which you are valuable to others. And since it is others who give you money or and love, your worth is in the hands of others. Now you can do what you can to persuade others to value you, you can use your powers and talents and charms to make others value you, as far as you are able, but you can’t guarantee it. What and how much the world gives you is not in your control. Even though we try very hard to control this, we can’t, not because there’s something wrong with or deficient about us, but because it is not within our power to control others and their feelings for us, or the extent to which they will give us the affirmation we need from them.
So how do we manage situations where others won’t give us what we want, or enough of what we want from them? The simple solution, the obvious solution, is to bypass others as the source of our worth, and find a reliable alternative to being worthy. And the easiest, and in fact only alternative to others as a source of our worth, is our own selves. We can become the source of our own worth, and in a way that bypasses others, and frees us from the unpredictability, the uncertainty, the unreliability of the others and the world of others as a the source of our self worth.
In order to accomplish this, we need to understand the nature, origins and purpose of self-esteem, and armed with this understanding, we can then proceed through a process of informed decision making, to shift our dependence on others for self worth onto our very own selves.
Please feel free to share your thoughts about and experiences of these ideas with me.