Building high self-esteem is great. But it can be unproductive if the basis on which high self-esteem is built is faulty. True or authentic self-esteem is self-esteem that is built on the individual’s actual worth.
Different people have different measures to determine what they are worthy of and how they measure up to others in life. Whenever those factors are present, they have high self-esteem and whenever they are absent, they see themselves as less worthy.
One of the problems with this is that society will continue to change and metrics of measurement that seem valuable today will no longer be valuable tomorrow— literally tomorrow. It is fine to understand that things become less valuable as situations change but that cannot apply to humans.
Humans have an eternal nature, they have an existence that transcends the physical things around them. It is therefore inappropriate to measure the worth of a man by the things man created.
The idea of money, currencies, career success, and so on, were all conceived by humans and so they remain lesser in hierarchy to humans and can never be the determinants of the worth of humans
This is because humans have always been worthy before they created these things. Also, because humans of every generation will always create new things, the measure of man’s worth will continue to change as new standards are created if they are based on the things we create.
There is therefore a need to find a universal measure of the worth of man, one that is higher in hierarchy to man himself and cannot change.
In the same way humans determine the worth of certain objects in our daily lives because we are higher in hierarchy than them since we created them, we should also find a greater determinant of our worth that is greater in hierarchy to us.
But it is not a case of just “finding” what to measure our worth with because if we do that, several people can come up with several “findings” of what is bigger than humans on which we should base our worth.
What is required is the true definition of our worth. That is, the standard to which we should compare ourselves which is true and wouldn’t be subject to the opinion of anyone.
But what can the standard be?
Jumping to a conclusion without study will be as harmful as where we started from, so let’s understand the concept and nature of worth
- Related: Why High Self-Esteem Is Overrated
How Is The Worth Of Anything Defined?
The worth of an object is the degree to which it is deserving of a value or an experience based on a role which it plays that is at least equal to the role of that value or experience.
For instance, if you say a car is worth $100,000, it means that the car can play a role that would have taken at least 100,000 dollars to play and so deserves that amount.
Bringing that definition to humans, when you ask “am I worthy?” the response should be, “of what?” because we need to know what value or experience to compare and test if you are deserving of or can play a role that is at least equal.
When it comes to self-esteem, the question is usually “am I worthy of the kind of life everyone else is worthy of?” or “am I worthy of making demands and receiving the same experience other people are receiving?”
The question of self-esteem is usually about what one deserves in comparison to other people and the answer is based on role.
To find out how worthy people are, you need to understand their role or importance. Already, this has made it clear that in certain situations, especially in corporate organizations, not all individuals are worthy of the same experience based on their role.
Someone in a role that the success of the organization depends on is more worthy of preferential treatment than someone playing a peripheral role, and that’s just understandable.
However, that is not the question of self-esteem. Self-esteem wants to know “how much do I deserve in life? Do I even deserve to be the one on whom the success of the organization hinges?”
So the answer would be “what is your role in life in general?”
The role every individual plays in the overall program of life in comparison to others, therefore, determines the degree to which they deserve the experiences others deserve.
To understand this, you must first understand the overall program of life and how you and every other person fit in that program.
The exposition of that program summarizes that we all play different but equally significant roles in the overall program of life.
That is, there would be an imbalance if one individual doesn’t play their role even if everybody else plays theirs. Also, that same individual’s role is likewise unfulfilling without the input of the roles of others.
On this premise, every individual is worthy: worthy of love, acceptance, preferential treatment, respect, and every other experience of life just like everyone else. When you see yourself this way you are said to have true self-esteem.
True self-esteem is high self-esteem built on the right understanding and measure of what you are worth in life. It is safer than high self-esteem built on anything else.
To understand it better, compare the difference between true self-esteem and high self-esteem
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.