Our work highlights the number of people out there that are very talented, yet lack self-worth despite their talent. And what we know is that few of them can remember a time when they had a sense of worth – except maybe as a small child. And that didn’t last very long. Before we know it the beliefs and values, opinions and judgments of significant adults in our lives take hold. We then become very committed to ‘not being enough’, not being ourselves and that different is ‘bad’.
We believe that it is completely viable for any adult to change the way that they think and feel if they choose to, but imagine if we could ‘catch them early’? Imagine if we went through the education system with ‘self-worth’ as a significant component of the national curriculum? We feel very passionately about this, and so have started working with some schools; both children and teachers, to test our ‘catch them early’ principle.
The wonderful author and researcher Brene Brown explores the concept of being ‘wholehearted’ which is:
- loving and accepting ourselves, both the good and bad bits
- knowing that we are enough as we are
- believing that we deserve to be loved and deserve to belong
We are working first with year 5 and year 6 children (ages 9-10) around ‘How to be Wholehearted’. What was surprising was how much they understood of emotion. However what was concerning was that all focus was on supporting other people, understanding other people, being kind to other people and putting other people’s feelings ahead of their own. Not once was there any mention of supporting ourselves, understanding ourselves, being kind to ourselves and certainly nothing about our feelings being just as important as other peoples’.
So many of us have low self-worth (don’t believe that we are good enough), crave recognition and appreciation (but are ashamed to admit it), are afraid to have conversations that feel difficult in case we upset someone (or even lose our job) and would never consider that we have needs, let alone that we have a right to seek to get them met. How much of this could be challenged, and eliminated, if we ‘catch them early’? Imagine knowing that we are good enough to believe in ourselves, worthy enough to ask for recognition, have the right to have any conversation that we want to and that without doubt sharing our needs and making it a key focus to get them met is what life is about.
We did see some children at the other end of the spectrum; that were more than happy to share how much they love themselves and that they are very keen to put their feelings first. Yet some of these were children causing disruption in the classroom, and choosing not to hear, or do something different, on the back of feedback. Does this mean that they are truly wholehearted? Or does it mean that they just think that they are?
For us this simply reinforces the message that self-worth and self-awareness must be present in equal measure. The most self-aware capable people will be held back without self-worth, and an abundance of self-worth with a lack of self-awareness can also be very limiting, as the impact we have can pass us by.
We will continue to blog about the work we are doing with schools and wholeheartedness, so watch this space!
– See more at: http://www.boltfromtheyou.com/blog/2015/12/catching-them-early-why-self-worth-needs-to-start-at-primary-school/#sthash.5zDFPQD4.dpuf