How is self-worth determined? Many of us use external factors like: wealth, status, accomplishments, popularity, other people's opinions, or gaining other people's approval to determine whether or not we have value, and whether or not we are lovable/likable. However, the truth is that the value of a human soul is intrinsic. Intrinsic means "belonging to a thing by its very nature." It comes from the Latin word intrinsecus, which means interior or inner. Some synonyms for intrinsic include: inherent, innate, inborn, natural, built-in, inseparable, permanent, indelible, ineradicable, integral, and fundamental.
Let me repeat; the value of a human soul is intrinsic; it comes from the inside. You have infinite worth simply because you exist. It is your birthright. It doesn't need to be earned or verified, and it is completely independent of any external factors. Deep down inside, you know that already.
There are a few moments in the lifespan of a person that we reflexively respond to that knowledge. One is when a baby is born. The love that parents feel for their infant child is beyond their ability to express. Does that baby have value and worth? Oh yes! Is that baby lovable/likable? Oh yes! What did the baby do to earn that worth and that lovability? Absolutely nothing. They possess those qualities simply by existing. Do those qualities of worth and lovability diminish over time? No.
Another moment in time where we are reminded of the intrinsic value of a human soul is when a life is taken, and we mourn the loss of someone we care about. Each life has intrinsic value. Our worth and value are inborn, natural, built-in, inseparable, and permanent.
What we believe matters more than what is true. We have intrinsic value, that's a fact, but just because something is true doesn't mean we believe it. Even though we have inherent worth and lovability as our birthright, we may have been told so many times by others, or even by ourselves, that we're worthless, or that we have to do something to earn and prove our value and lovability that we believe it. And in this case, what we believe is more important than what is actually true.
Researcher Brene Brown came to a similar conclusion after her six-year study on what causes shame. She wanted to know why some people enjoy love and belonging while others are always wondering if they're good enough. She found that it all comes down to one single variable: a person's belief of whether or not they're worthy.
She says, "There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it. And that was, the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they're worthy of love and belonging. That's it. They believe they're worthy… The one thing that keeps us out of connection is our fear that we're not worthy of connection…"
If you already believe the truth that you have value and are worthy of love and belonging, that's wonderful. If that's something you need to work on, that's okay; I'll be sharing tools in the following lessons that can help. Next, we'll be talking about a tool called an "I am" poster.
In closing, I'd like to share a quote from author Marisa Peer, "You are enough not because you did or said or thought or bought or became or created something special, but because you always were."