Most cultures have concepts and aphorisms that encourage self worth. Most cultures don’t make these central to life and learning.

For example:

  • Manipura (Solar Plexus Chakra) Self worth, self confidence and self esteeem.
  • Integrity is more valuable than income. Honor is richer than fame. Self-worth is wealthier than net worth.
  • Maturity is learning to walk away from people and situations that threaten your peace of mind, self-respect, values, morals and self worth.

But self worth has often been corrupted. For example, what’s the difference between self worth, self respect and self esteem.

A recent study highlights some of the issues.

Social researcher Hugh Mackay identifies in modern Western culture a disease he calls the “utopia complex” – a world we dream of and think we are entitled to with outcomes that are always positive.

The victims of this way of thinking are children brought up in an atmosphere of constant praise by parents who think self-esteem is more important than self-respect or self-discipline. Bewilderment, confusion, and (ironically) self-doubt come from unrealistic expectations and eventually the shock of hitting the real world where most people do not in fact shine more brightly than the other “stars” around them.

A generation brought up on an endless diet of their own specialness appears to be struggling with the hard truth that most of us are just ordinary. According to a survey by the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, university and TAFE campuses are reporting epidemic levels of mental health issues, with 70 per cent of students reporting high to very high levels of psychological distress.

The reasons for this are complex, but many psychologists believe our prioritising of self-esteem based on the validation of others has taken a toll.

The generation brought up on self-esteem is struggling

But the article mentioned above then makes a lot of assumptions about the “true” nature of a human being. And I would refute most of it.

Meanwhile, and closer to perhaps the majority of the young people in the study, it doesn’t take a great leap of intuition to see that the pursuit of Facebook Likes (or any other Social Media shallowness) is both a cause and a symptom.

Facebook is not a community. It is not a peer network. Facebook is a business. Full stop. And just like all the other multimillion dollar and multinational companies, it’s sole purpose is profit for a few. Fake science from the tobacco companies and sugar companies and agricultural companies is no different to fake news and fake likes on Facebook. And all of those are impediments to understanding the world and our place in it.

Personal worth is not determined by external factors. It’s not determined by money. It’s not determined by popularity.

Personal worth is the overthrow of cultural, educational and peer limitations and conditioning. 

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