what you are worth

Today we ask that you question the concept that “things outside you give you worth.”

The notion that “things outside you give you worth” is such a key belief in your reality that the thought of questioning it may seem absurd.

And yet it is a completely made-up thing.

Things outside of you do not give you worth.

In some cultures, worth is represented by how many sheep you own.

In some cultures, worth is represented by how many seashells you own.

In some cultures, a woman’s worth is determined by how many healthy sons she’s given birth to.

In some cultures, a grown man without a beard is considered worthless.

In some cultures, worth is represented by your house and car.

In some cultures, worth is represented by your level of spiritual advancement, according to a guru or lama.

Can you see how utterly subjective this is?  What is worth a great deal to one person is worthless to another.

Of course, what all cultures have in common is the idea that something outside of the self measures worth.  It may be sheep or seashells or male babies.  But it’s something.

And yet what is it, really?

For many people, self-worth is linked to a number on a computer screen.  When the number goes up, they are worth more.  When the number drops, they are worth less.

But what happens if there is a sudden, unexpected turn — and the number drastically drops?  Such things are known to happen.

People go very crazy when his happens, for they truly believe that the number determines their worth.  Sometimes people commit suicide when the number drops too low.

This is not meant to be cavalier about your monetary system.  Many of you live in terror of poverty and homelessness, and for some this may be a legitimate fear.  For many, however, the true sense of dread around poverty arises because they truly, deeply believe that a number can determine the worth of the human being.

Consciously, you may acknowledge that a homeless person is just as valuable as a billionaire.

But do you really honestly believe this, deep down?

Most people are so hypnotized by cultural values in regard to money that deep down they do not truly believe that all men are equal.  They do not live from that place.

Of course, it is not just the number on the screen that determines worth.

For many, physical appearance determines worth.  This is especially true for many women, who even in this liberated time still believe that beauty is a commodity, meant to attract a man with status.

In many cultures, a woman’s fertility determines her worth.  This is true in first world countries, where many women still feel stigmatized and worthless if they are infertile, or choose not to be mothers.

There are many ways of measuring status.

Some people like to think of themselves as being non-materialistic.  Such people may say this, and yet still be invested in other forms of status, like awards, or titles.  

Some people look to accumulate merit through virtuous behavior.  While this can come from a good place, it can sometimes lead to rigid perfectionism.  “Puritanism” was such a belief system.  

On and on it goes.  All the things people cling to so that they can see: “See, I am better than this other person! I am worth something.”

One man proclaims he is better than another because he has a nice house and an expensive car and a pretty wife and smart children.

Another man proclaims that he is greener, more ecological than other people.  Another man proclaims he is a better Christian than the others in his church.  Even the non-attached Buddhist may get attached to how much he meditates or how much merit he is accumulating.

When people look down on materialists, look out.  They collect their worth through moral superiority.

All because people feel worthless.  People feel worthless unless they can tell people exactly why they are worth something.  Listen to people talk, especially when they are meeting someone new.  “Hello, this is what I do, this is why I am worth something.”

Or they will say: “I am friends with so-and-so who did this and that.”

That’s another funny belief.  That being friends with someone who is worth something makes you worth more.

Even if you saw a bunch of innocent babies, you might be inclined to assign value judgments.  In many cultures, a male baby is worth more than a female baby.  Or a light-skinned baby is worth more than a brown-skinned baby.  Or a beautiful baby is worth more than an ugly baby.  

But let’s say you saw a group of babies, all of the same gender and skin tone and the same approximate level of baby beauty.

Then, perhaps, you would have difficulty assigning value judgments.

Then, perhaps, you could begin to perceive the infinite worth of each child.

If you could see yourself with divine perception, that is how you would appear.

Some of you have relationships with beloved animals.

Does this animal love you because of your money and possessions?

Someone cynical might say, well, the animal loves the person because the person feeds it.  But one can give food to a feral animal without the creation of a loving bond.

Those of you who have had the experience of unconditional love from an animal know that this is very wonderful.  For animals don’t care what you look like, or if you have won prizes, or drive an expensive car.  They would never think of you as “worthless,” any more than they would think of themselves as worthless.

If people loved themselves as much as their pets love them, what a joyful world this would be.

If the concept of worth is totally subjective, then perhaps it is completely meaningless.  It is whatever your culture has taught you to believe.  If you had been raised in a different culture, you might value yourself and others according to completely different standards.

Here is the truth:

You are worth as much as you believe you are are worth.  It has nothing to do with anything outside your mind.

It is well known that rich and famous and beautiful people may suffer from terrible feelings of worthlessness, while a person of modest means may be quite content with himself.

If you want to feel like you are worth something, stop linking your sense of self-worth to what is outside of you, and thus beyond your control.  The number on the screen may go up an down in ways that are quite beyond your control.  It is therefore unwise to hook your self-worth to something so arbitrary.

You do have the ability to control your perception — primarily by learning to question what you are told and taught.  The authority figures and TV commercials may tell you what makes a human worth something in your culture — but are they telling the truth?  Is it a universal truth?

You are worth something, as you are right now.  You are worth everything, as you are right now.

Nothing outside of you determines your worth.

If you really believe this, then you will be wonderfully free.