I once met an extremely attractive and sexy young woman. She can qualify as a beauty queen with her externals. Yet she’s on an emotional roller coaster. She feels better only when all people around her say she’s pretty. When she hears people comparing or criticizing her looks, she feels depressed. For her, her worth equals people appreciating her external beauty.
We live in a culture where it can be hard not to be judged by appearances or externals. Media, such as television, film, advertising etc., conveys the message that you are not worthwhile if you’re not young, slim-figured, bold, beautiful, or rich. In various places, your human worth equals your market worth. With this line of thinking, only Bill Gates or Henry Sy would have greater human worth than a Mother Teresa.
When externals equal your self-worth, you can feel down big time. Your feelings would go beyond the normal when worth is in doubt due to externals, such as events, circumstances, or performances. Taken to unrestrained extreme, your failures or rejection from others can make you feel miserable, depressed, and develop psychopathology. When worth equals externals, self-esteem rises and falls along with events.
The key to healing from this source of mental instability is to separate “core worth” from “externals.” Here, we make a distinction between feeling bad about an event, behavior, or performance from feeling bad about the essence of our self. The idea is to judge the unhealthy behavior, performance, event, or circumstance, but not the core or essence of one’s being. “I’m not good enough as a person” is, therefore, a self-destructive choice of thought. So, judge present external behavior or event, never your core self.