Proving Our Worth Vs. Feeling It

By Greg Baer M.D.

October 13, 2014

From childhood, Linda and Julie had both been convinced—in a wide variety of ways—that they had to earn the approval of others. So they had no solid sense of being worthwhile. This is very common.

Both women very much enjoyed my holding them—like small children—which gave them the love and sense of worth they had been missing all their lives. But there was an enormous difference between them.

Julie eagerly asked to be held on many occasions. This is entirely normal in the beginning. Imagine having been deprived of food for your entire life. How would you feel about having an abundant supply of food available all the time?

So Julie’s requests were normal, even expected. But eventually, it became apparent that within minutes or hours of her being held—or receiving attention by text or email or phone—the effect wore off, and within a short time she required similar attention. Her requests for attention became demands. She was requiring constant, intense PROOF of her worth, and with that attitude—and with the attendant manipulations—no amount of proof was enough. With no conscious intent on her part, she had turned Real Love into a kind of Imitation Love. She had developed an addiction to this proof of her worth.

Linda was also starving for love, and she too requested frequent contact with people who could love. But she absorbed the love. She FELT it. She took it in and allowed it to become part of her. She trusted the people who demonstrated their love and believed that if they loved her she must be worthwhile. Once she had complete trust in her worth, she received each loving interaction as simply more EVIDENCE of her worth. She was calm and confident in her assurance that she was worthwhile.

In the beginning, almost all of us require proof of our worth. We require assurance that there really are people who love us. But then we have a choice to make. We can accept the proof and retain it, or we can distrust the proof and require re-proving, over and over. But such proofs are never enough, so we become increasingly miserable.

If, on the other hand, we accept the proof, and believe we’re worthwhile, additional loving interactions are simply further evidence of our worth, which we ENJOY rather than require. The latter path is a far happier way to live.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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