Man suffering anxiety

There’s nothing wrong with you (probably) – Self worth and why it matters

One of the biggest causes of my social anxiety and depressed feelings is the thought that I’m somehow flawed in a fundamental way.

This low self-worth (which I think is one of the four horsemen) is the basis of my fear, anxiety and why I hold myself back.

So many of us are afraid of anyone finding out about our hang-ups and problems, we never open up enough for others to really connect with us. As a consequence, all the connections we do make are shallow, transient and unfulfilling.

It’s no wonder for many life seems meaningless, difficult and lonely.

This sense of being flawed seems to be created by the culture we live in. We think modern society is tolerant but it can be remarkably punitive its own way.

It happens at school in our youth as bullying which continues into adulthood. Because of our society, our peers pitch values and aspirations so high our low self-worth becomes a part of who we are. We can see we’re not matching up, worry that we won’t, or work so hard trying.

Values like youth, wealth, beauty, gregariousness, outgoing, worldly, experienced, sexy, knowledgeable, upbeat, successful, innocent, wise etc.

The stigma of mental illness runs into the medical profession. Our problems are seen a less important because it’s all ‘just in our head’.

When we are diagnosed with an illness like heart disease we know it’s to do partly with diet and biology, which we know we can influence.

But when it comes to a diagnosis of depression or anxiety it’s different. We feel it’s a label of something permanent, a fixture. I am socially anxious.

So getting medical help can be a double-edged sword. Such a diagnosis can get us the support we need, but it reinforces our sense of being flawed, weak and unworthy.

I didn’t take the medical route. I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety or depression. I sometimes think that was a mistake, but now I see its benefits.

Feeling flawed is hard to overcome. It’s based on the idea of a fixed ‘self’ within us. Our identity, the part that doesn’t change. Yet more research shows that concept to be flawed. Buddhism also rejects the idea of a fixed self.

Once you accept that and believe it, you realise the anxiety is transitory. Or it’s but a part of you, not the whole.

Our sense of self is such an important aspect of our existence. Our identity is how we perceive the world and our role in it. We all want to feel as though we add something to this world, our friends.
We define our worth according to the contribution we make. To be told it’s nothing, worthless, is to be rejected by society as a whole. There is no place for us.

Being so alone means what’s life not worth living for if I have no worth! It shows how our emotions and beliefs can undermine our existence if we let them.

The sense of our own goodness and value is the basis for why we do many things. Without it, we can become close to the precipice of ending it all. Denying the world our unique insight and our contribution to the world. The part where we make a difference

It’s all about shame, a very toxic emotion. To be free of it is to take a big step towards valuing ourselves regardless of whether we mess up or not. That to me is one way out of this hole. Rejecting this notion of being flawed.

There’s nothing wrong with you, nothing that can’t be changed. Mental illness included. Just because your ill doesn’t mean you have no worth.

To see that no matter how screwed up our past is we can change and put something worthwhile out into the world.

Our past doesn’t define us, it feels like we can’t change. But this is yet another illusion. These illusions, the disempowering beliefs are what we need to let go of.
You can help someone to tomorrow, with a kind word, a web link, advice compassion or just being there.

So stop thinking that there something fundamentally wrong with you, there isn’t. It’s a trick your mind is playing on you.