Why Worthiness Should be Abolished From Self-Help Teachings

At the core of all our wounding is worthiness. I don’t feel worthy. I don’t feel good enough. If you've done any sort of therapy or self-help modalities, you’ve most likely come across some attempt to address your unworthiness. I am worthy. I am enough. I’m proposing bypassing this language altogether. 

Worth is defined as: “Having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way.”

Worthiness is a valuable concept as it pertains to business. Are my services worthy of your money? But it ends with transactional arrangements and shouldn’t enter the realm of interpersonal relationships. 

When applied to self or other personal relationships, worth is a performance based system of transactional love, not authentic love.  

Proving your worthiness is an endless performance-based-jumping-through-hoops circus show. 

At the basis of worthiness is an exchange. It is transactional based - what can I DO that is worthy of receiving something in exchange whether it’s love, attention, or gifts. 

This is familiar because most of us grew up under worth-based parenting. This is the same as shame-based parenting, but the positive side of it. If you are good, you are worthy of approval. If you are bad, you are shamed. For most of us, love and attention from parents was performance-based. It was transactional. We carry this system into our interpersonal relationships. 

Does this mean it’s okay to be or to be with a sloth, who never gets off the couch to do anything? Of course not. Life is about actions. I love when my wife cooks dinner.  She also loves cooking dinner for me, that is… when she loves cooking dinner for me. If she were to try to prove her worthiness to me by cooking dinner that would take the sweetness out of it and turn it into resentment. 

Instead of struggling with Am I worthy, ask How can I show up as the truest and most authentic version of myself?  

How can we foster our integrity, confidence, and lovability without proving our worthiness? Here are some suggestions:

  • Contribute talent/skills that come natural to you and that you enjoy doing.
  • Know that your gifts are on borrow from the Universe and use them graciously.
  • Focus on actions that seem effortless.
  • When you go out of your way to do something outside your wheelhouse, be mindful for what exchange you are doing it for. 
  • Make your actions a WIN WIN for you and the benefactor. 
  • Try a Metta Prayer or Ho’oponopono Prayer
  • Forgive yourself and others when you come up short to your expectations

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash