THE SELF MATRIX
And Your Unconditional Value
Do you deserve to be here? Do you deserve the things you have, your opportunities, your friends, your place in life, your loved ones? Strange questions. Yet people commonly ask themselves these questions. They wonder about whether they have a right to exist, to live, to love, to act on their goals, etc. These are ontological questions— questions of being. There are more. Who am I? What is my nature? What is life about?
In terms of meaning-making, the answer to all of these questions build up the construct of your self-image and self-esteem. Now “normally,” if you had parents who graduated from Parenting 101 and got certified that they were mature enough and skilled enough to parent, then these questions were answered in a healthy and robust way in how you were parented. That is, as they loved and cared for you, as they nurtured and gratified your needs in an age-appropriate way, you built a healthy mental map about yourself:
“I am loved and valued. I count. I am important. I am respected and have the right to be here, and have the challenge to be my best self.”
You value yourself as a human being because you are a human being. There are no conditions, no “ifs, but, or whens…” You are a human being and that makes you innately significant and important. Consequently, you don’t have to prove anything. You don’t have to meet any conditions to be acceptable, loved, respected, etc. You have already met every condition that’s required— you are human. We call this “self-esteem.”
Yet many have some very limiting and unuseful beliefs about self-esteem. Commonly, we talk about one’s self-esteem being high or low. But either way, that would make it conditional. And if conditional, then we have to ask— What is your self-esteem conditioned upon? Do you have to be so smart, so fast, so strong, so pretty, so rich, or what? “Esteem” speaks about estimating the value of something, rating the worth of something. And if you rate your human worth on anything external like wealth, position, status, job, etc., then it is conditional and then you ask those ontological questions— “Am I good enough yet? Do enough people like me so that I’m okay?”
Carl Rogers urged that we treat each other with unconditional positive regard. No conditions! You are important because you are human. The Jewish, Christian, and Islam faiths begin from the idea that we are all “made in the image and likeness of God.” Again, no conditions. You are born valuable. You don’t have to prove anything, reach any conditions. You are free to become your best self. You are free to express the potentials and possibilities that are clamoring inside.
Now for those who did not get to construct this kind of healthy self-image and self-esteem from the beginning, the next question is, “How do you esteem yourself as unconditionally valuable as a human being?” And the answer is? The answer is that you simply assert it. You declare just as healthy parenting would declare it and then you act that way. Act with dignity, respect, and innate worth. In Neuro-Semantics we have developed a pattern for this as we access three states— acceptance, appreciation, and then awe (unconditional value). We then apply acceptance and appreciation to our doing self and then we apply awe to our being self. This meta-stating process means that we put our being self inside of the frame of “unconditional value” and feel a stat of awe about oneself.
For many, doing that is very weird and strange and uncomfortable. They are not use to thinking this way or feeling this way about themselves. That’s okay. Everything takes some getting used to. This will require repeating the process until it begins to feel familiar and comfortable. If there’s objections in the back of someone’s mind and they are asking themselves, “But is it right?” “Is it okay?” “Won’t I become selfish or self-centered?” These are to be expected. It speaks about the world that they have grown up in —one that did not respect their innate sacredness as a human being. It speaks about the limiting beliefs that their parents operated from. Again, repetition is the key. Keep doing it. Keep repeating the unconditional value assertion. Just keep asserting this new frame until it becomes your frame of mind.
Without centering yourself with the dignity assertion that establishes your unconditional self-esteem, your intention in life will always be to proof yourself. And with that as the purpose in the back of your mind, then whatever you do will have an ulterior motive. Then you will tend to use situations and people to be okay, to be a somebody. Conversely, the healthy alternative is to start from the frame that your worth is a given. Then, having nothing to prove, you are free to express every potential that is within you to express.
This is the foundation for being centered, for taking criticism positively, for treating mistakes as a context for learning, for staying open and defenseless when blackmailed or threaten in some way, and for much more. And now you know why we start here on Day One of APG (Accessing Personal Genius).