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Do You Define Your Adequacy By Looks and/or Performance?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
April 01, 2013

What was valued and approved of in your family as you were growing up?

When you were growing up, how did you learn to define your worth? Here are some of the things my clients have said to me:

  • In my family, we were valued when we got good grades. My parents were very intelligent and accomplished in their professions and they obviously defined themselves and us by our intelligence and performance. I am more the right-brain creative type and never did very well in school. I have always felt inadequate.
  • My parents were both very attractive, and this is what they seemed to value in themselves and in us. I'm average looking and I've always felt inadequate.
  • My father was an excellent athlete and wanted the same for me. I'm not the athletic type. I'd rather stay home and read. My father always ridiculed me for this. I still feel inadequate that I'm not into sports like so many other guys.
  • My parents were very social and always pushed me to have lots of friends. I'm an introverted type and never had lots of friends. This has always made me feel inadequate.

Pauline wrote me the following question:

"I just spent the last two days watching Carnival parades, and I have to say that I was at times feeling so inadequate, ugly and fat in the face of these gorgeous women parading in 'costumes' (really bikinis with feathers...). I tried to think about what would be loving to myself. I tried to tell myself that physical appearance wasn't all that important and that it did not define me. I also know beauty comes from confidence and shines from within but I couldn't muster anything except feelings of inadequacy. I wonder why I attach so much importance to looks, why I let that diminish myself? What can I do, what is the loving action I can take towards myself when I feel so transparent, so vulnerably inadequate?"

Pauline, you are not alone in this issue. It is unfortunate that few of our parents defined their own worth intrinsically, and therefore didn't know how to help us define our intrinsic worth.

What Is Intrinsic Worth?

Each of us has a soul that is a unique expression of the Divine. We come into life as this unique expression to evolve our soul in our ability to love and to fully manifest our soul upon the planet.

If you have been around babies, you know that each one comes in with his or her own way of being in the world. Some are extroverted and some are introverted, and some are in between. Some are highly sensitive and some are easy-going. Some are more left-brained and some are more right-brained. We each have our own ways of learning, of laughing, of expressing love. We each have our own unique gifts and talents. Some are musical and some are not. Some can draw from memory and others can't. Some learn to read at a young age and others learn when they are older. Some are light-hearted and some are more serious. Some are funny and others laugh easily. Some show caring through words and others through touch or actions. While all souls are capable of kindness, each expresses it differently.

Our intrinsic qualities are the inherent qualities we are born with.

However, when we are praised for our looks, performance and accomplishments, and not for our wonderful intrinsic qualities, we may lose touch with who we really are. That's what is happening with Pauline.

Pauline, the loving action you can take is to work with your spiritual Guidance to learn to see and value your wonderfully incredible intrinsic qualities. Only when you learn to value who you really are – aside from your looks – will you start to feel adequate and worthy. This is what will give you the confidence and self-worth that can truly shine through.


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