Self-Value and the Gift of Polarity

Cultural evolution is the change of culture over time. Our behavior is acquired from other members of our species through teaching, imitation, beliefs and other forms of social transmission.

Throughout life we receive messages about ourselves from society at large, and these messages often emphasize that something is lacking within us. Our self-value is greatly affected by this and many of us don’t realize how deeply these messages are embedded in our minds. Due to the nature of this social conditioning, we often base our self-value upon our physical appearance, financial wealth, material possessions, marital status, career success, mental intellect etc.

The seed of this began for me at age six when I had my hair cut short and a female friend told me that I looked like a boy and was ugly. Polarity created in that moment, beautiful versus ugly, followed by the witnessing, and sometimes being the target, of schoolyard style bullying from people of all ages. All together creating this belief system around value: too fat, too skinny, ugly features, too dumb, different skin color, too weird, financially poor family, uncool shoes or clothing, less material possessions than others etc, all meant that you were going to have no friends and no worth in society.

The initial upset regarding my physical appearance over time created a further decline in self-esteem, and perceived self-value, this all being fed by marketing, advertising and later by social media. My heart was deep in love in my later teenage years and this was shattered by infidelity. I had no idea how to be there for myself emotionally, and my controlling mind naturally came charging forth to serve, protect, and keep from further harm.

There’s no blaming here, this is just life, it’s just what happens and what is. We add a lot of meaning to what happens in life, and unconsciously our belief systems are created, followed by behaviors to protect us from ever having to experience the same traumatic feelings ever again.

The belief that my physical body and appearance was a reflection of my value and worthiness created deeply ingrained fears, and my controlling mind compensated with some extreme behaviors. Over-exercising and training, and strict eating habits were deployed in an attempt to control my morphed perspective of my value in society. Due to my mothers moral influence upon always remaining perfectly humble when speaking of one self, I could do this no other way than by brutal dedication in action. This stoic behavior is another example of accumulated conditioning. While others expressed admiration regarding my strength, un-breakability, and unshakeable determination, the wounded self who felt invisible and worthless enjoyed this attention. Most fitness and figure competitors have a slightly varying version of this story.

Through ruthless commitment there were very fleeting moments of liking what I saw in the mirror. The voice of self-judgment was very discriminating and extremely hard to please, and the protecting mind was on a mission to serve, it desired nothing less than perfection in any moment. It certainly didn’t matter how successful I was as a competitor, or how perfect my body looked to others, deep inside my self-worth and self-esteem were out of alignment and harmony.

These deeply ingrained beliefs and behaviors can be very challenging to break through. My fixation on success, and very unhealthy desire for absolute health and perfection, all eventually brought me to a feeling of numbing dullness. In this state of despair I asked, “Really life, is this all you’ve got, is this how it’s going to be forever?”

Only months later “Bang!” - a near-death motorcycle accident, received as the beginning of an absolute wake up.

With a whole new perspective and wonder, I began to ask the bigger questions. “Why am I still here, and what does life want from me?” Naturally, I began to deepen my practice within yoga and meditation, and in doing so, rediscovered an innate spirit and intuitive connection, and this brought with it many opportunities within self-development, healing and expansion.

The veils of illusion slowly lift as we journey back to love, truth and the heart. Self-positivity and self-esteem are a continuous journey of noticing our insecurities, processing judgment from others, and judgment of ourselves. Our judgment of others is more of a reflection of our own insecurities and ourselves than it is of other person, therefore judging others does not define who they are, it defines who we are. We have very little impact when we blame and try to change other people and our external world. When we accept what is, and focus our energy on cultivating understanding and self-love within ourselves, we remember that this is where our power is.

Within the integration of Self-value there’s a deeper aspect that many of us haven’t brought into awareness, and this is the un-integrated animal or primal Self. Yes, we are a soul and spirit in a human body having a human experience, however we are also from this land. We’ve evolved from the apes, and our inner primal Self needs to be felt and acknowledged to fully integrate.

Our primal nature is survival, safety and security. Much of our competitive nature and striving to be better than, richer than, smarter than etc, is the conditioning of our primal Self. Our physical appeal, money, success, material possessions, friends (safety in numbers), etc, are all things the mind thinks it has some control over gaining.

Money is perceived as being a great form of security, however it can become worthless overnight. It certainly can’t buy love, health, spiritual bliss or lasting happiness. Vibrant health, faith, divine guidance, having a roof over our head, enough land to grow our own food, access to clean water and fresh air is all the security we need. There’s nothing wrong with striving for success. The question to ask ourselves is, where is the motivation coming from, are we aligned with freedom and love, or are our actions coming from fear and not being enough?

Many geniuses within history had no formal education. As we grow we often need to let go of our intellectual knowledge and the corresponding belief systems. Our understanding is forever expanding and when we choose to live from this perspective we truly become wise.

Once the core of our self-devaluation is revealed we see our conditioning and behavior for what it is. We can then find love and appreciation for our protective mind and the service it has provided in life so far. From here inner harmony can be restored. There are many skills I acquired, people I met, and places I visited that would not have been possible on any other path, and I’m very grateful for, and I love the healthy physical body, my controlling mind helped me create. The path is rarely straightforward and I’m grateful for this.

The body, our money, and our possessions are not who we are. Self-value is a deep knowing within the heart. When we appreciate uniqueness and natural beauty, receive affection from children, appreciation from honest critics, fulfill virtuous acts with no thought or expectation of reward, perceive the best in others, have a positive impact within our world, and remember to play and laugh often, this to me is to have shared some valuable energy within life.

There is an inherent gift in polarity and now is the opportunity for us to confront the illusion of separation and duality. Bringing awareness to where we hold polarity pairs such as good and bad, beautiful and ugly, right and wrong, rich and poor, them and us etc, is the beginning of breaking down the framework and conditioning of the dualistic reality. Our complexity and rigidity are inviting us to open ourselves to simplicity, expansion and freedom. As the masks fall away we return to the love that we are. We become awake in the dream and realize that we are free now and there is nothing we need to change about ourselves or work on.

Duality is a transformational playing field and is only maintained by the belief systems held in the collective mass consciousness. As we personally integrate our polarities and surrender our limiting beliefs, our reality naturally transforms. The collective reality also shifts, revealing a greater reality of unity and Oneness for all. We are the resolution!

Kate Alderman

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