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Can you find your worth…in another human

by Abigail AnabaSeptember 3, 2014

Can you find your worth…in another human

There is a proliferation of motivation speakers in our day. Some of them spewing “deepness” meant for no other place than the trash can.  Some are so confused that they come up with the most ridiculous catch phrases. Has anyone ever told you to fake it till you make it? I don’t know how many times you’d fake, a visa acceptance for instance, before you get thrown into jail.

Sometimes, it is the assuredness with which generalizations are made that can be just a little more than heckling. The assumption that everyone was baked from the same bread pan and so should have the same mark at the same spot. I really don’t know how else to explain how motivational speakers use absolutes like “no one”, “every time” and “all” for any type of statement.

So I scrolled into one of them the other day:

“Stop telling yourself the lie that you need a man in your life to have worth. Stop. Telling. Yourself. This. Lie.”

Alright pause.

Is it really true that no one can find their worth in another person? While this concept may sound right even ideal, let us examine to see if it is an actual lie.  Didn’t someone say that humans are social creatures? Didn’t another say that we are connected to each other? Do we not agree that a person’s life can be changed forever due to a meeting with another just for a few seconds?

If you have answered yes to each of the questions above then join me as we take a scientific approach to addressing the hypothesis in the quote above: is it a lie that you need a man in your life to have worth?

Let us start by defining ‘worth’. Assuming we have a worth-o-meter, what type of qualities would we need to place on it so that a person scores higher on the worth-o-scale?

You may be aware of the term net worth. In financial circles, this means a person’s total assets minus total outside liabilities. As one writer puts it “You just add up the value of all of the things that you own – the value of your home, the value of your cars, the value of your savings accounts and investment accounts and retirement accounts – and subtract from that the value of all of your debts”.  We shall borrow from this concept in discussing what has come to be referred to as “self-worth”.

According to one research the concept of someone having self-esteem was first conceived in the year 1657 but it wasn’t until 308 years later, in 1965, that self-worth was recognized as a separate concept. Actually, self-worth and self-esteem are two different things, sometimes interweaving but mostly separate.  One researcher says, “Self-worth is what enables us to believe that we are capable of doing our best with our talents, of contributing well in society, and that we deserve to lead a fulfilling life”.

A psychological blog states, “The difference between someone with a healthy or good self-esteem and someone who doesn’t isn’t ability, per se. It’s simply acknowledgement of your strengths and weaknesses, and moving through the world safe in that knowledge”.

To make this clearer, let’s go back to our worth-o-meter and worth-o-scale and marry it with our knowledge of net worth. The formula for calculating one’s worth then would be total assets – that is qualities that make you a more desirable person to others- minus liabilities (debts) – that is qualities that people complain about when you exhibit them.  Did you notice how many times we mentioned “qualities that people” in discussing worth? The reason is simple: We hardly see ourselves as others see us and since humans are social animals what others think matters. Those who go on and on (and they do exist) about not caring what other people think are those we call selfish and egotistical.

So when you look in the mirror, you determine the qualities that humanity admires and subtract the qualities that humanity frown at and you arrive at your worth. Another point to note is that one man’s baggage is another man’s plus. So it is difficult, if not impossible to actually tell a person’s real worth. I would put it this way: Your worth depends on who is judge. So while I may find one person highly desirable because he is very intelligent someone else may place greater worth on physical attractiveness.

Perhaps it will be a good idea, at this point, to consider personality types. Scientists say there are about 16 different types. What this means is that there are 16 sets of people who show predominantly certain characteristics which we call their personalities.  So, two personality types that struck me while thinking about this issue of worth are the nurturer and the giver.

In explaining these personality types, the nurturer is said to “need positive feedback from others”. If they do not get this feedback or face criticism, they get discouraged and even depressed. As for the giver, their personality type detests being alone. Now ask yourself, what is wrong with a lady/guy who is a nurturer/giver- whose personality type already depends on others to find their worth- finding their worth in a man? While you are thinking about that add this statistic: 4% of the world’s population are nurturers/givers, that is, 280 million people who “need positive feedback from others”, 280 million people who inherently rely on people’s feedback to determine their value on the worth-o-scale.

I dare say that for this 280 million there is something inherently selfish about others totally relying on themselves to determine their own worth. For them, needing a man, woman or anyone for that matter to determine their worth is as natural as their finger print. In fact, these two personality types cannot achieve their true potentials or achieve their full worth without relying on someone outside of themselves. That is just how they are wired. To them the statement “Stop telling yourself the lie that you need a man in your life to have worth” is a lie.

 

 

 

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Abigail Anaba
Thinker. Teacher. Writer.
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