top of page
Search

You are worthy just as you are!




In the journey of self-discovery, we often encounter a powerful yet subtle force that shapes our beliefs, behaviours, and self-esteem – the concept of "condition of worth." Coined by psychologist Carl Rogers, this concept refers to the conditions we perceive we must meet in order to be worthy of love, acceptance, and approval, both from ourselves and from others.


It’s been one that has come to close to my heart since I hit mid-life and it's something I've come to become more aware of in parenting our 13-year-old daughter. A few years ago, I came from my psychologist appointment, and we unpacked events I could remember that somehow shaped my condition of worth. It was hard, yet somehow, I knew that by acknowledging the uncomfortable I can then forge a new path in my brain, in my life, my body, and open myself up to new experiences and choices. But it was still difficult. Up until today, this deeply engrained conditioning still shows up in life. When I’m aware (awake), rested, I can catch myself making decisions on based on what I’ve known all my life. Yoga has helped me get back feedback from my body, it’s been a refuge which has helped me move from thinking to presence. Through self-compassion, I’ve allowed myself to accept and nurture this part of me. It’s one that has kept me safe and has allowed me to flourish in life as well, but it’s also made me tired and somehow disconnected to truth. To remember that we are worthy no matter what is one big act of love that we all deserve. It is our birthright.


It starts from the beginning.

At an early age, we begin to internalise external judgments and evaluations, forming the foundation of our self-concept. These external conditions, often communicated implicitly, become the basis for our self-worth. For instance, a child might feel valued and loved only when they achieve good grades or follow certain behavioural norms set by the world around her. Over time, these conditions become deeply ingrained, leading to a constant striving for external validation and a fear of rejection.


Condition of worth typically originates from childhood experiences, where we learn what behaviours and qualities are deemed acceptable by those around us. Expectations from people around us, societal norms, and cultural influences play a significant role in shaping these conditions. As we internalise these messages, we start moulding our identity to align with these external expectations, often at the expense of our authentic selves.


Impact of condition of worth

The impact of condition of worth on our lives can be profound. It can lead to a sense of inauthenticity, as individuals prioritise conforming to external standards over listening to their inner desires and values. This often hinders true self-discovery and prevents the development of a strong and resilient self-esteem. Additionally, the perpetual pursuit of external validation can result in anxiety, burnout, and an inability to find joy in one's achievements.


How can we better understand our condition of worth? What can do we do to give it love and a sense of unconditional positive regard (loving ourselves no matter what)?


Here are some ideas:

1. Self-Awareness: Recognise and reflect on the conditions you've set for your own worth. Identify when these conditions were established and how they influence your decisions.


Yoga can help us build the skills to become aware, connected to our body, our breath. Our bodies can be telling us something and it invites us to turn inward and listen. It’s hard to know what is true for us especially when we’ve been responding in autopilot. Slowing down helps and it gives us the space for reflection, less reactivity.


2. Challenging Beliefs: Question the validity of these conditions. Are they truly representative of your authentic self, or are they remnants of external expectations?


As young child, doing well in school was important for my parents as it was a way to have a better life. I don’t blame my parents for wanting the best for me. I'm grateful to them. But over time I’ve learned to acknowledge that my worth as a person isn’t solely tied to performance. I don’t always have to be that “problem solver” that I used to pride myself to be. It’s ok to say no, it’s ok to slow down, and it’s ok to ask why I do what I do. It takes time to garner the courage to challenge our own beliefs.


3. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Practice self-compassion and self-acceptance. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, regardless of whether you meet external standards.


I’m an advocate of self-compassion practice. There’s research around the benefits of self-compassion and how it can positively impact our wellbeing. Looking back, I think I’ve been drawn to Loving Kindness meditation practice for 20 years because I might have needed it all my life. It has been foundation of how and why I teach yoga as well. We can be our biggest critic and through self-compassion we can cultivate an understanding and kind inner voice.


You can find out more about self-compassion in a blog I previously wrote.


4. Defining Your Values: Identify your core values and priorities. Base your self-worth on aligning your actions with these values, as this helps one move way from seeking validation from others.


I participated in a value – vision workshop a year ago, and we used a similar worksheet that the amazing Brene Brown uses to reflect on values and behaviour. You can view Brene’s value worksheet here and do you own reflection exercise. Maybe even do it as a family or with your friends.


Do your actions and decisions reflect your values?


5. Embracing Imperfection: Understand that perfection is unattainable and that mistakes




are a natural part of growth. Embrace imperfections as opportunities to learn and evolve.


This is hard! If you’re a recovering people pleaser like me, it’s hard to feel that you’ve disappointed someone else. If we are doing something to please others, then there’s an internal expectation to be that “perfect person” for someone other than ourselves. When you’re feeling guilty, or bad about it, turn your compassionate and warm attention back to this part of you that’s needing acknowledgement and tending.


Condition of worth has a profound influence in our lives, shaping our self-esteem, choices, and overall well-being. By recognising its presence, challenging its validity, and fostering self-compassion, we can slowly break free from its limitations and embark on a compassionate self-discovery of integration. For me, I don't see these as "bad parts", they were wonderful protectors that has served me long enough and it's ok to not be making choices based on them.


To remember, that our worth is not contingent on meeting external conditions, that it's an inherent aspect of our being, can be liberating, and it can also be lifelong practice of re-aligning to what is authentically meaningful for us.


If you're in the thick on exploring what this could be for you, remember to be gentle with yourself. You are worthy just as you are.


Upcoming Course

Our upcoming Mindful Beginnings: 4-week Meditation Journey for Beginners will commence on the 7th of October. Meditation is a wonderful opportunity to turn within and cultivate awareness and compassion and remember that we are worthy just as we are. You can find our more via www.breathingspacewellbeing.com.au.


Sources:

Conditions of worth research: (PDF) Conditions of Worth (researchgate.net)

Self-compassion research by Dr. Kristen Neff and Dr. Christopher Gerber: Self-Compassion Resources | Kristin Neff

60 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page