The Epidemic of Lack of Self-Worth
It’s hard to feel truly good about yourself — respect yourself — in American culture. This society purposely undermines people’s sense of worth: People spend more when they feel essentially inadequate, meaningless, and unimportant. They become willing to spend money, time, and effort on purchases and activities that make them feel better about themselves and their lives.
It’s status symbols to prop up a person’s ego, or makeup and clothes that help them feel attractive and worthy of attention when they don’t feel that way without them. It’s substances like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, and chocolate that people use, partly, to dull or distract from the terrible feelings of meaninglessness and of not deserving respect, love, or a good life.
As much as capitalism extols individual achievement and ingenuity, it also thrives on a mass of people who feel awful about themselves.
And when people don’t feel that their own thoughts, beliefs, and values are important, they also become easily led. That might take the form of a person who remains in a passive, compliant role in a relationship, or a citizen who trusts media reports or leaders’ statements without duly vetting them.
It’s not only society that promotes lack of self-respect — it can be employers, partners, parents, so-called friends, anyone who wants to keep another person down in order to maintain power over them.
And it can even be yourself who’s preventing you from feeling worthy. When you feel that what you do doesn’t matter, that you’re small and inconsequential, you’re letting yourself off the hook in terms of a lot of responsibility and effort — without realizing what you’re also losing when you choose that.
Honoring yourself means recognizing the significance, importance, validity, and sacredness of your own values, thoughts, beliefs, desires, life, and self.
The Damage Caused by Lack of Self-Honor
When you don’t honor yourself, you let others — friends, family, partners, groups, advertising, and so on — make decisions for you, or unduly influence your choices.