Robert Fulghum Was Right
In fact, the title rings true for us in a hugely significant way here at the Blueberry Planet. All those social skills like sharing, and stories of imagination and dreams that many of us were read and taught about when we were very young, hold far greater truths about how to live a fulfilling life than all of the education we receive in reading, writing, math, history and science combined!
We love to learn!
These are all things that are fun to explore, and wonderful tools. Useful tools. Perhaps in many situations essential tools. But they are not the answer to living a fulfilling life. If you search, you can find much wisdom in the knowledge out there. For example, it was in my theoretical chemistry class that I learned that things are truly not always as they seem. And an objective reality is very difficult to fathom indeed.
This is useful information because it led me to inquire more deeply into the world around me and question things more. This was not only fun and interesting, but also encouraged me to think for myself. But at the heart of the intellectual seeking - wandering off into inquiry after inquiry about how the world works, which I also used as a distraction - was the longing for self-worth.
But It's Not Out There
The human condition is such that we want to feel good. And feeling good is a feeling we feel inside, and starts with feeling good about ourselves. But how do we feel good about ourselves? A good place to start is to think about what makes a new born baby feel good? BEING THERE, attention, love, kind words, patience, gentle encouragement. These things are also what we here at the Blueberry Planet associate with self-worth.
Self Worth 101
- Self-worth is about how you feel about yourself, what you feel is possible for yourself, what amount of happiness and joy you feel deserving of.
- Self-worth is reflected in the amount of joy (i.e. "feeling good" emotion) you allow yourself to feel. Imagine that you know for 100% certainly that you are loved, that you are valuable, that you are unique and important. Wouldn't that then lead you to gravitate to things, people and places that you like, that bring further joy to you?
- Self-worth is also reflected in our ability to be present with ourselves, give ourselves attention, listen to our own needs (such as a need to be alone, or to take a nap). With high self-worth, we respond to ourselves in the same way our ears prick up when we see someone we love, admire or think is important.
- Self-worth is a feeling, not an intellectual understudying. However, telling yourself verbally, out loud or silently, that you are a good person, deserving of love and happiness, and whose needs are important, is a way to train yourself to feel self worth inside. Self worth can be tested and improved by keeping promises to yourself, letting yourself try new things so you can grow and expand.
- Self worth is not an objective reality about your value as a human. Because all beings have vast potential and are equally worthy of being alive. Self-worth is a feeling you have about your self - that can change and grow - and has everything to do with your happiness on earth.
- Without self-worth, no amount of education (unless the education is teaching self-worth) will lead to a fulfilling life.
- Most people forget their intrinsic self-worth as a being of nature through a misunderstanding. Usually as a very young child we see and experience things around us that are hurtful and chaotic and take it personally to mean something is wrong with ourselves - when it really doesn't. Which is why re-learning self-worth through positive self-talk, trying new things, and following through on commitments we make to ourselves is very very important. The positive self-talk influences our actions, which further demonstrates to ourself that we are important (like a parent taking care of a baby), which leads to further good self talk, and so on...
What We Should Teach in School
Self-worth and the attributes described above are the foundation upon which life can be lived to the fullest expression. With out self worth, how is someone expected to follow their hearts and dreams? It is self-worth, after all, that inspires rapt attention to one's own self and inner voice, so that we can understand ourselves, our strengths, and talents; and how to make the best use of them to fulfill our dreams in the world.