This was first published on KSL.com
Do you know you have a system you use to determine the value of human beings?
You do. However, you might not realize it because it might be largely subconscious.
This system is determining who you like, who you don't like, who you judge, and how you feel about yourself. It plays into how you react to situations, when you get bothered or offended, your resilience level, and even your personality.
If you are unaware of your system and therefore haven't consciously chosen it, then it's likely you have subconsciously accepted the system that the world teaches.
The world's value system
The world teaches us that human value must be earned through our appearance, performance, property, opinions and what others think of us. It says that value is changeable and goes up and down daily, based on these five factors. It also says that some humans have more value than other humans. This system for determining human value creates discrimination, racism, hate, wars and all the conflicts in the world.
This system is also a no-win, hopeless, vicious cycle of judgment, guilt and shame that makes all of us feel inadequate at times. If you believe human value must be earned and can change, you will almost always suffer from low self-worth.
Now, here is the good news: You can choose a better system any time you want, but will take repetition and effort to integrate it and replace the old system you have believed in your whole life. Becoming aware of the system you currently use to determine human value is the first step.
Here are the most common things you use to earn or determine human value. We all use all of them, but we usually focus on one or two. See if you can see which things play a part in how you value yourself and other people.
1. You might value appearance most and use it to determine human value.
This means you are trying to earn value by looking good all the time. You care a great deal about your clothes, your house, your body and how you are seen by others. You might stress when you don't look good enough and judge others if they don't look good. You might see people who don't care about their appearance as less valuable.
You might ask questions like, "Do I look OK in this?" and stress about what to wear too much. You might even believe you have to look perfect or you have no value at all. Because you can always find people who look better than you, you will feel like you aren't good enough a lot of the time.
2. You might use performance, tasks and getting things done most to determine human value.
This means you value hard work, productivity, responsibility, achievement and doing good work most. You stress about doing a good job, getting things done, and impressing people with your achievements. You might see your income as the scorecard and need to be appreciated for what you do a little too much.
You are probably overly focused on your work — at home or in a job — and you might judge people who don't value this. You might see people who don't perform as less than you.
You are also your own worst critic and judge your own performance harshly. You might even believe you have to be perfect or you have no value at all. This will leave you feeling like you aren't good enough a lot of the time.
3. You might use your property to determine the value of human beings.
You might think the one who dies with the most toys wins. You might compete with the Joneses and believe your value lies in your house, cars, boats, clothes, watches, shoes or other things. You might feel like a failure if you haven't been able to own these kinds of things.
You might find that shopping makes you feel better or safer in the world. You might be overly focused on your home or collecting things. You might think that people who live in big houses are better than those who live in apartments. Because you can always find people who have more than you, it will leave you feeling not good enough a lot of the time.
4. You might use the opinions of other people, your popularity or approval from others to determine the value of human beings.
You might stress and fear what others think of you, count your social media likes or attention, and need validation from others to feel good about yourself. You might stress and struggle with decisions because of your fear of judgment. You might lose yourself trying to be what you think others expect of you. This can start to dominate your focus and can even become an approval addiction.
The problem is that you will always have some people who don't like you, so this will leave you feeling not good enough a lot of the time.
5. You might use opinions, ideas, education and intelligence to determine the value of human beings.
This means you will overly focus on what's inside a person's head as what determines value. You might look down on people who are uneducated, unintelligent, careless, don't have strong values, or those who disagree with you on any issue. You will believe your views are the right ones and anyone else is just wrong and therefore less. You might be overly opinionated and quick to share those opinions. You will also see education as a scorecard toward a person's value. Your ideas and opinions can become your solid ground and what gives you great value.
People who rely on these things to determine value, often feel they are good enough at first. But, they often see other people as less than them and this will damage their relationships, which in the end, still leaves them feeling not good enough.
A better system
Can you see which areas you use most? Can you see the ways you are trying to earn value yourself and why you judge and look down on certain people?
This information tells you a great deal about yourself and why you behave the way you do. But notice, there is one thing they all have in common: None of them work.
In the end, they all leave you feeling not good enough. This is because they all see human value as changeable. If you choose a system that sees human value as changeable, you will always see some humans as having more value than others, you will always find people who seem to be above you, and you will always see yourself as not enough at times. You cannot win if you see human value as something we must earn.
Many years ago, I discovered an amazing system that will totally change your self-worth and your life. It is simply the belief that all human beings have the same intrinsic value that cannot change no matter what they do, how they look, what they own, or how they think. All human beings have the same value because we are all one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, divine souls and creations of God. These facts never change, and therefore neither does our value.
Believing this makes you bulletproof and gives you a real solid ground to walk on. It means that nothing you do, nothing anyone else thinks or says or does, and no life situation can change your value or diminish you. You will always have the same value as everyone else, which means you are safe.
The catch is in order to claim this system for yourself, you also have to give it to everyone else. You must give up all judgment of others, and allow everyone to be on their unique classroom journey, learning different lessons, but with the same value as you. The more you give this infinite value to others, the more you will believe it and accept it for yourself. The more you forgive others and stop judging, gossiping, or criticizing them, the better your self-worth will be.
Seeing people this way is the greatest gift you can give your child, but, you can't give something you don't have.
If you are struggling to make this change, seek out a professional counselor or coach to help you in changing your subconscious beliefs. Then, ask your children to help you integrate this truth. Every time you make a mistake, ask them to remind you that the mistake didn't change your value. Make this part of the language in your home. When they win or lose a game, remind them it didn't change their value at all.
When you see people on the street who have more or less than you, talk about how that doesn't affect or change their value. The more you talk about it in your home, the better. It will be a lifelong effort to shift this mindset because your old-world belief is so deeply ingrained, but it will get easier and easier as your practice.
You can do this — and it will change everything.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.