Exploring Insecurity and Self Worth

Alison Cross noted that the arrows in the Wildwood's Seven of Arrows represent communication, which opened the flood gates of my mind about how others' communication to us about ourselves effect our self worth so significantly.

To start with, insecurity is basically feeling unsafe. Anything that can threaten our basic needs for survival -- food and shelter -- will make us feel insecure. We can help soothe these fears by trusting in ourselves, those around us, and that those closest to us will provide a safety net if we ultimately fail. It is that last point that seems to drive our insecurities the most.

We need to fit into society in order to survive. This is instilled in us from the second we are born: we are a separate being who needs the grace of another to survive. As we age, we learn that our care givers must actually like us in order for our needs to be met, so we conform to their desires from us. Once we branch out from our family into the world, we learn about cooperation with others, that we exchange our value in order to receive any from another. We learn if we do not provide enough value than our peers will leave us.

We learn how others perceive us, and their negative opinions pierce us like an arrow. We fear if we lose too much value we will be abandoned by society. Our safety net torn.

When we are young it is important that we learn these lessons, to learn how to see ourselves through the eyes of others so we can gauge our own value. We learn about ourselves through our own perception of ourselves and how we perceive others' perception of us. We develop this first sense of self worth through being directly molded by those around us. As we age, we take stewardship of our own self worth, learning whose opinions are realistic and whose are unreasonable, learning to filter these opinions and block the ones bad for us.

Once we've fully come of age and take full responsibility of our sense of self worth we need to learn how to protect it from others continuing to modify it. Not everyone is an artist, and therefore we wouldn't let just anyone come up and modify a sculpture to their vision. We also should not let just anyone come up and modify us to fit their vision of how we should fit in the world. Not everyone has good judgement on how our cooperative society should work, and specifically how we as an individual should fit within it. We need to learn to turn away opinions that don't fit our vision of how we fit in society.

However, no matter how hard we try to protect our self worth from others, we are still susceptible to the opinions of others. It is unreasonable to expect otherwise. Because the very process of programming a computer requires the interaction of people, it leaves open the vulnerability that people can hack the computer. Because people are needed to help form our initial sense of self worth, we are therefore fundamentally vulnerable to people "hacking" our self worth during a barrage of opinions from others.

Be careful how you treat others. We all are trying to fit in and provide value to the world.

I lived in San Francisco and saw people from all walks of life. I saw all sorts of fashion or lack thereof; even nakedness. I saw people make mistakes, and others walking by or helping out, judgement free. I saw people of a wide range of mental and physical abilities. But what I noticed most of all was people accepting everyone else. No snide remarks. In fact, people were more likely to be helpful to each other and frequently so kind.

This was quite a contrast to the small town I grew up in. Walking down a street downtown I could possibly encounter someone openly mock me simply because I wasn't perfect. There were rude cashiers who would be snide if I didn't go through the transaction perfectly. So I developed quite an amount of insecurity! I didn't realize it was acceptable to be anything other than perfect. I didn't realize that "perfect" was impossible because there are an uncountable amount of ways of being.

San Francisco taught me otherwise. San Francisco opened my eyes to the many varied ways a person can be a member of society, and I was free to try any of them for myself.

I tripped down the stairs one day and just smiled at those who jumped to help me. Not a shred of shame. People trip down the stairs sometimes, and that's OK. For me, for my self worth, anyone who says otherwise is the one who is wrong.

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