Did you know that virtually every emotional wound is intertwined with issues of worthiness? In fact, feelings of unworthiness keep us from creating the lives we most desire. In order to heal our emotional wounds and consciously create, we must conquer our fears of unworthiness, but in order to do this, we must first understand why we are programmed to feel unworthy.
Like most “subconscious programs” the Worthiness Program is often passed down, unknowingly from our caretakers, but even, on the rare chance, that you did not inherit this program, by the time you are in first grade, the program officially begins.
On day one of first grade, we are taught that there is right and wrong, deserving and non-deserving, and passing and failing, all adding up to either worthy or not worthy. Year after year, with every test and evaluation, we must prove our worth. But not just worthy to move on to the next lesson, the next grade or to graduation, we are asked to prove that we are worthy of approval, acknowledgment, appreciation and even love.
If we do what we are told and we fit in with the group dynamic, we receive rewards and our emotional needs are met. However, if we think for ourselves, and we do not fit in, no rewards come; leaving us feeling emotionally punished by disapproval, disappointment and the withholding of love by those in authority. In other words, we are deemed unworthy.
Society teaches us that worthiness is directly connected to our future and ongoing success in the world. Therefore, we must possess worthiness in order to have purpose, make money, and attract a life partner; just as being poor, having no partner, or no direction in life directly relates to unworthiness.
By the time we go out into the world on our own, we are deeply programmed to believe that others must find us worthy in order for us to succeed. In fact, we believe that our survival depends on the world agreeing that we are worthy. Of course, infinite conditions dictate worthiness depending on environment, culture, religion and society. We might easily meet the conditions of one group, while missing the conditions of another; thereby being worthy to some, but not to others. Maybe we even alter ourselves artificially in different situations and relationships so that our worthiness quotient increases. Of course, the cost of pretending to be someone that we are not in order to please others, always involves some level of shame and secrecy.
If we always feel self-conscious about others’ expectations, albeit partners, parents or bosses, and we change our behaviour accordingly in order to get approval and be deemed worthy, we must always be on guard. So even if we are authentic in some situations, we must be ready to alter or hide our real selves if the situation should suddenly change; for example if we run into a co-worker while on vacation or a parent drops by unexpectedly. In this way, we can never really let go and relax; we must stay in a constant state of underlying anxiety in order to be able to shift identities on the fly – just to be worthy in this moment.
If we don’t meet the real or imagined conditions that others place on us, we could lose employment, be abandoned or experience ridicule. In this way, being spontaneous or authentic in all areas of life could be the most dangerous thing one could do – in the eyes of worthiness.
Even if you succeed and find your worth in a career or a relationship, for example, you will always need that outside source to feel worthy – this places a great deal of dependence on something you cannot control, and so you live in fear, placing all sorts of stress on the other person or external situation.
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