Happiness and self-worth – are always a purely internal matter!
During last several days I have been thinking a lot about the ultimate decision-making power and authority within our own consciousness. Think about it, really think about it for a second: you are the only person thinking in your mind. You and only you can accept, reject, affirm, negate, agree or discard any idea or a thought in your consciousness. And yet when we interact with the world of events, circumstances, opinions and behavior of people around us, it often seems that they (the sum and total of what people say, do think about you, as well as circumstances, events and problems you face) control and determine how we feel and think.
I have developed a very low threshold of tolerance for heavy and dark feelings inside me. When something happens that triggers those uncomfortable feelings, I habitually sit down in a quite of my own with a pen and paper and try to look at where it is all coming from. Every story we tell ourselves at those moments often involves somebody or something outside of us who is to blame. If only my partner did or did not do something, if only my boss or colleagues were treating me differently, if only this world was more appreciative and rewarding towards my talents and abilities. And the list goes on. It is easy for me to visualize a hurt, wronged, upset part of me sitting in the corner and pointing at the pile of something (that happened, or they did, or said) out there which is responsible for how I am compelled to feel in here (inside me, that is).
For years I have developed a solid mental pattern of seeing the external events, feedback, conditions and opinions as a most important, reliable and pursuit-worthy THING which will either give me a permission to feel good about myself, or would ‘force’ me to feel worthless, ‘less than’ and not good enough. Very early on in life, the opinions and feedback I received, the way I was treated, the good and love and affection I was given (or denied) convinced me that it is THEM OUT THERE who matter the most, who have the power and authority to dictate my worth and value. In order to have a permission to feel good enough or lovable, I will have to earn their approval, prove my worth, accumulate and accomplish enough ‘stuff and fluff’ which they see as valuable and praise worthy. Only and only then would I have a permission and would be allowed to feel a little measly portion of ‘I am ok’.
While I am not here to go into lengthy autobiographical reflections on why and how I developed this pattern, I want to emphasize that many of us link our self-worth and will only ‘esteem’ ourselves highly if and only if the EXTERNAL (things, events, opinions, circumstances) will let us. But rarely do we question who is them? Who has authorized and empowered them to dictate what and how we feel within ourselves? How do we see the role and position our own will, our own inner voice and opinion versus what they say, do or think?
Many sleepless nights, depression, feeling stuck, helpless, completely powerless, depleted, inadequate and inferior, hurt and upset, vulnerable and angry has compelled me to look for other ways of seeing and perceiving myself. I simply did not have any more energy to cope with the disapproval and expressed lack of love (lack of approval, lack of acceptance or lack of validation as I perceived it) from people and the world out there at large. When I sat down with the pen and paper, and went through the events and encounters that seemed to belittle me, words that denied my worth, actions and treatment that indicated that I am not good enough or do not measure up, the self within me could not take it anymore. After a lengthy and honest searching for another (better) way of being me within myself, it was slowly becoming clear to me that what hurt me the most, the ‘not-good-enoughness’ and ‘undeservingness’ and ‘wrongness’ inside me that crushed me was my own ideas and beliefs about myself. I would go to places within myself, the dark uncomfortable corners of guilt, shame and inadequacy that THEY are not even aware of. I would often point a finger and say because she did (or does) this, I feel that…. because you do not know how to love me, I feel unlovable… because you won’t hire me or pay me well, I feel like I am useless and a complete failure… and the list goes on.
But hold on, I said to myself. Where am I, the I that I really am (and I really know myself to be) in all this? Is it really the solid, undeniable truth about me, that I am inferior, unworthy, not good enough, unlovable or wrong because they seem to see me that way? What do I think about all of this? Also, when and how have a I decided that people (or some events) outside of me, who cannot possibly know who I really am better than I do, have this power and authority in my life?
This line of logic has led me to realization that the ultimate decision, to count them in or not, to agree and accept their opinion or not, to obediently go to that dark, depressing corner of feeling of never being good enough inside me as a result of what THEY DECIDE or SEEM TO THINK was really my very own decision.
I want to repeat that: every single time we go to that dark corner of feeling worthless, not good enough, as though we do not measure up and do not deserve love and good (in the largest possible sense of these words) it is always MY VERY OWN DECISION. Your mind has the absolute power and authority to accept or to negate, to agree or to deny any though or idea which it chooses to. If I feel worthless, useless and unlovable because THEY did (or did not) do something, they are simply triggering the uncomfortable dark corners in my own consciousness. They are forcing me to sit on those uncomfortable chairs in the corners for loosers, not good enough and unlovable people that I already have accepted and established in my mind, or else no force outside of me could make me feel this way!
I agree, choose, accept and play along….. THEY often do not even know what is going on, or that they have this power and authority (or this important role I have assigned to them).
It dawned on me, that it only matters what I, and only I really really believe and accept to be true. It only matters what I know absolutely to be true about me, worthy of me, and unchanging solid characteristic(s) of me. It really only matters what I will choose to accept as true and to agree with. A lot of spiritual teachings refer to this fundamental and primary decision-making power and authority within each one of us as => a WILL.
Within each one of us there is a will, sufficient upon itself and free. What we do with it is really 100% our choice. Nobody can change or take-away your freedom and ability to affirm or deny ANY thought or idea in your own consciousness.