Many of us feel as though we’re being judged by others or ourselves. Are we accomplished enough? Pretty enough? Intelligent enough? Strong enough? Rich enough? Popular enough? Do we measure up? Have we earned enough self-worth?
That’s the perpetual problem: self-worth. If we are not accomplished, pretty, intelligent, strong, rich or popular enough, we feel as though we are flawed. Wrong. Guilty.
Self-worth is an idea born of judgment. Assessing our or someone else’s “worth” is just our ego’s attempt to feel better about itself by inflating itself or deflating others. When we put our ego aside, we simply enjoy life, and the idea of self-worth doesn’t even come up.
Who is to say that beauty, intelligence, physical strength, money, popularity or accomplishment make one “worth” something? What “value” do we have in an existential sense, and how is that value increased by worldly characteristics and deeds? What currency is used to determine one’s “value”? Is there a cosmic dollar?
Worth is not an inherent quality. One simply exists; there is no “value” assigned. Now, one might be “valuable” to society as a scientist, entertainer, soldier, etc, but that is only one’s utilitarian value to other people.
Not only is self-worth an absurd notion, but all the things that we use to measure self-worth are temporary. Accomplishments are from the past. Looks fade. Physical strength diminishes. Wealth can be lost. Mental faculties can deteriorate. People’s opinions can change. This is precisely why the “self” as most people define it is false: we endure after those things fade or disappear, so any self based on them is certainly not us.
We worry that the false self we perpetuate is not as good as the false selves that other people perpetuate. We miss the natural calm and peace we could get by simply being, without comparing or competing. We feel a constant need to perform, to impress, to improve, to outdo, so we can never accept who we are, the way we are, now. And the more we try to improve the false self, the more reality we give it, that is, the more we fool ourselves into believing it’s real.