Thousands of thoughts go through your mind in the course of your day and each day you make many choices. Your choices intend to bring you the greatest value. Your perception of what adds value is based on your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and habits. These were created from your life experiences and your personal interpretation of events. Your choices, however, are often made unconsciously or subconsciously. For example, your children might be very important to you but when they interrupt you on a phone call or when you are working on something, you might dismiss them saying, “Can’t you see I’m busy?” In that moment, you have not consciously considered your response, but there is an impact nonetheless. You do what you do because of how you think or how you value things relative to everything else and often these actions or reactions are made by habits of thought rather than by conscious choice. In many ways, you are a slave to your habits and they are creating your reality. The Natural Order of Thoughts Value science teaches us that there is a hierarchy of value, meaning that there is a Natural Law or order of how things are valued in the universe. There is the “Intrinsic” category of thought which includes singular concepts, irreplaceable and incomparable, including human beings. Then there is the “Extrinsic” category of thought which includes abstract concepts, things of the everyday world, finite, comparable, and measureable. Lastly, is the “Systemic” category of thought which includes dualistic, formal concepts (dualistic meaning absolute – right/wrong, all/nothing) such as ideas, rules, and mental constructs. We also have two worlds in which we “think” or “value”: one is the internal world or how we value ourselves; the other is the external world or how we think about everything else. So, there is a natural order for how things are valued in the universe – absolute and irrefutable – and then, there is our perception of what is of greatest value. It is this gap in how we think about people, things, ideas, and ourselves that causes us difficulty and creates stress in our lives. Somewhere in your thought processes, you have ideas and beliefs about YOU and where you rank in the scheme of things. As a human being, YOU are irreplaceable, unique, and priceless. As such, YOU are of greatest value. Interestingly, you may not have difficulty believing in the infinite and priceless value of a human being. You are quite capable of recognizing this value in others. The difficulty may be to embrace your own value, acknowledging and accepting that you, too, are a human being and fit into the intrinsic category just like everyone else. Looking for Value in All the Wrong Places When you don’t believe that you are of great value as a human being, you will look for your value elsewhere. This is reflected in your self-esteem as it attempts to overcompensate for feelings of “not good enough” or “less than”. The Self has to have value, you see. So if you are not giving it to yourself, you will go elsewhere to find it. The problem with this plan of action is that you are always searching and never quite receiving what you need in order to feel good about yourself. You are dependent upon others to value you appropriately in hopes of getting what you’ve always been able (and can only) give to yourself. You might look for value in your work, your accomplishments, your possessions, or your relationships. You might focus on impressing others with the right clothes or car or lifestyle or the right spouse. In your quest to find your value, you might accomplish great things but that feeling of completeness continues to elude you, or you experience only short-lived satisfaction. You might look for value in your ideas and opinions often finding yourself defensive, in battle with others to defend your ideas and to defend your Self. Defensiveness is a clear sign that your self-worth is tied to your ideas. All of these little games you play leave you vulnerable because when you look for value from outside, you give up control and your power. Your power lies in choosing healthy thoughts and actions. Your power lies in valuing yourself and enjoying the incredible human being you are. Imagine for a moment that your self-worth is attached to your ideas. You share an idea at a meeting. Someone says they have a better idea. How does that feel? Do you feel crushed, like someone just kicked you in the gut? They don’t like your idea but your mind interprets this to mean “They don’t like me.” Wow. So you fight for your idea because you can not allow your Self to have no value (even though it’s just a thought). In this dynamic, are you listening to the other people in the room or are you focused on being heard or getting recognition? What about the other people in the room? If a huge percent of the population links their self-worth to their thoughts and ideas, how well are they listening and how defensive do they become when their ideas are passed over? People in these situations don’t feel valued or validated. They don’t feel heard and too much time is spent in defensiveness without truly listening to each other. Value Yourself through Personal Development Each of us has a responsibility to develop our own self-esteem, to grow and mature so we feel good about ourselves and spend less time in self-doubt. A good, healthy self-esteem represents the appropriate respect and value for yourself and your role as a human being. You can never and will never find what you are looking for outside of yourself and your thoughts. You will always be searching for more. In fact, that is all self-esteem is – thoughts. Often, these thoughts are not very nice, even mean. But they are just thoughts, ideas; they are not truth. If you struggle with your self-esteem, then it’s time to change your thoughts. Given that you listen to thousands of thoughts over the course of the day – every day – if they are not cheering you on, but rather beating you up, then it’s time to replace them with some more positive and realistic thoughts about YOU as a human being. When you shed the baggage of your self-esteem – your needs and self-doubts, fears and guilt, feelings of unworthiness and not deserving – when you stop comparing yourself to others and instead simply focus on being the real you and contributing to the world in whatever way feels good for you and brings you joy, then life is different. It’s easier. It’s as if the biggest burden is lifted from you when you can just be you, doing what you do best without pretending or wishing you were someone else or something that you are not. We often have completely unrealistic expectations for perfection and we are burdened by the guilt that follows as a result of never meeting those impossible expectations. So much time is wasted and we miss out on so much joy from the self-deprecating and negative inner dialogue. Stop looking for value in all the wrong places and start embracing your innate, natural value. Start enjoying and embracing being a human being with all of your amazing qualities, creativity, your body and intellect – enjoy being YOU. Now that you know that you have value, you have to make a conscious choice to DE-value yourself through words or actions. Choose to value yourself and your life will take on a completely different flavor.