This subject matter is one that lies at the core of the vast majority of people today, their own judgement of self worth. Peoples judgement of self worth is, I would consider, the primary motivation behind behavioural patterns and actions, be them “good” or “bad”. It is so tied to experience that it is worth considering some new ideas about it.
Before the advent of epigenetics, I was one of those who believed that everyone entered this world with a clean slate. This article, however, if not wholey disproving that, does suggest it’s not that black and white. It demonstrates that we may have hardware inbuilt to us that may “guide” us when encountering certain external experiences and behaviours. If indeed experiences can be built into a physical form through synaptic connections in the brain and this form has the potential to be passed on through reproduction, then the potential to repeat the results of previous generations experiences through genetic expression in later generations, creates the potential for predispositional behavioural patterning in those same later generations.
Therefore, sometimes when a person claims “they can’t help themselves” in certain situations, there may be some basis of fact in it through genetic expression. However, potential doesn’t neccessarily have to be realised. The understanding arising as a result of that piece (albeit a very limited study) gives us some tools with which to use when we consider how our behavioural patterns are affecting our own sense of self worth. Therefore the internal dynamic tension between learned cultural conditioning and genetically expressed predispositions, if we are lucky, can result in a win/win situation.
People who have met me in the “real” world would probably confirm I am a very positive person. Positive in outlook and behaviour (sometimes annoyingly so as I have been told previously) and I don’t dwell on mistakes. Leastways I don’t dwell on the negative sides of mistakes. For me, there is always a positive outcome to any “mistake” even if the only positive outcome is the commitment to not make that mistake again.
Now, I am not about to start espousing how to attain this positive outlook, that is not my intention. There are plenty of professionals and “self help” types of books and courses out there that would probably do a far better job than I could ever do.
Saying that, there is one thing I have found that contributes significantly to my outlook. And that is the “need” to continue learning throughout life, learning through the various mixtures of potential learning outlets, for example dealing with the general public, learning through the medium you are currently reading and learning through old fashioned books (including the electronic ones) to name but a few.
I have also learnt a lot through engaging in, with and through a positive spiritual life. My simplistic reasoning says to me that the more I learn, the better the potential for me to make the “right” choices in my life. And making the right choices in the present, contributes significantly, in my experience, with my own sense of self worth. For me, understanding how and why I am making the right decisions in the present, form virtually all the framework for me assessing my self worth. I won’t be held hostage to the past in so much as I place greater emphasis on how the decisions I reach now inform my sense of self worth than the results of the decisions I made in earlier times. It is the result of making earlier mistakes that has placed my current state of self worth in the place it is now.
This is no simplistic outlook that says that because I have a larger database through experience, I am bound to make the right decisions all the time. The experiences guide me through the decision making process and inform how I deal with the consequences of making, what superficially may appear to be a wrong decision sometimes. And as I have said elsewhere, the “wrong” decision may actually, in the long run, have turned out to have been the “right” choice. I for one, have certainly made enough of those types of decisions over the course of my life.
So I would say that my own sense of self worth is tied to being able to use all the experiences of my life constructively to make better choices as I age. It is an ongoing thing and is not tied to any one event or period of time. And referring back to that original piece, even though my time of genetic reproduction is at an end, I am relieved that there is potential for positive predispositioning being expressed at some time through my genetic offspring as well as the children with whom I now interact with daily.
I would say that the accumilation of experiences and the ongoing joy of continuing learning has instilled in me a sense of positive self worth at this time.