Imagine newborn babies and how innocent they are. We love and value babies inherently. They don’t have to speak a word or do a thing to be loved. This is a taste of Thriving Mode—seeing others and ourselves as lovable, just because.
Since we tend to live in Survival Mode, the opposite is frequently true. We become very critical, making others and our own value contingent upon being a certain way or accomplishing something special.
Imagine the value and worth of school teachers helping students with special needs. Many teachers are selfless, but their value can become contingent when they don’t think it’s ok to care for themselves. It can feel selfish when there are so many children struggling in the world, yet it’s essential for the school teacher’s health and wellbeing to practice self-care.
Having our value and worth contingent upon achieving something was likely necessary for our ancestors to survive. For example, pressuring oneself to be an expert hunter, would be valued by the tribe and ensure one’s status and desirability. The status created the opportunity to mate and pass along the internal judgment gene for future generations.
Although it is natural to be judgmental of ourselves and others, it keeps us in Survival Mode. There is a great deal of pressuring, striving, and beating oneself up, with only brief moments of happiness after an accomplishment.
Think about a time you saw your value and worth dependent upon achieving a certain grade in school or a mastering a skill at work. Critical thoughts come in an infinite variety. Try writing out three examples of yours and reflect how they work for you or not.
As you would inherently love babies, you too deserve to love yourself as you are—right now. Just because. Catch your criticism today, smile that it’s normal, and choose to love yourself where you are in the moment. Join the teacher in learning to see your value and worth independent of your role or job. This is learning to Thrive.