Does it matter?
How then do we gauge individual’s worth?
How do you gauge your worth?
This question is intended to be answered in isolation, meaning just gauging your own worth, not in comparison to the next guy or gal, not based on society’s dictate. This exercise requires you to reject everything you’ve learned about your own own worth. It requires you to isolate yourself completely – albeit momentarily – from your environment.
What good would that do, you might ask? You cannot separate yourself permanently from your environment, right? The exercise is not meant to send you to live in isolation, away from civilization; its principal objective is to help you be part of society while minimizing its impact on the way you live, the way you gauge your worth, the way you think about yourself, and so on. I would be one to admit this is not an easy task; in fact, it’s extremely difficult.
It would have been much easiest if you simply compare yourself to the guy/girl next door but it would be useless; we’re already doing that. We know where it leads to. If everything and everyone to compare with is removed from the exercise, what then is left? What are we comparing with? What are we gauging with and for? The only one left is you. Surprised?
Do you think you matter? If not, why not? If yes, how much do think you matter?
Is there a point to this exercise? Is there a point to gauging oneself? The short answer is yes but you need to gauge you with you, nobody else. Why, you might ask? Why not, I would submit. Why would you want your worth to be, only in comparison to someone else? Why can’t it just be?
Let’s consider the following scenario; you are a woman, weigh 230lbs and are 5’5”. By society’s gauge, you’re short and heavy. – well, I am too shy to use the word fat – To seal its influence on you, society suggests that you’re prone to high blood pressure, heart attack, etc. etc. If you run after a friend for 30 seconds and feel out of breath, guess the culprit? Well, you don’t have to guess, let me tell you, your weight. You are too heavy, you need to lose some lbs.
Now, let’s have a skinny guy/gal run after his/her friend for 30 seconds and is out of breath, guess the culprit? It may be a little hard to tell. In both cases, it could just be that you and the skinny guy/gal are out of shape, nothing to do with weight, just out of shape. If you’ve internalized society’s dictate, your life would be more miserable than the skinny individual. You have to do something about that weight. I don’t argue either way. (I am 5’11” weigh 157lbs but I am out of shape. I am the skinny guy referred to earlier.)
The aforementioned scenario, albeit simple, is meant to give a dose of reality; we are all influenced, impacted by society. Our way of life – how we see ourselves, how we think, how we value our worth, etc. – is too dependent on society’s dictate. A few of us (number has been growing exponentially lately) feel good about ourselves for society puts us on top of the word until such time when events (however isolated they are) suggests a change; most of us are miserable because society already places us in a category that’s well worthless. It is within that large group of worthless individuals – which most of us belongs to – that most of the fighting, the crimes, the competition exist.
Our longing to belong is the simplest way to explain our acceptance and adoption of society’s dictate; we embrace it and measure ourselves against others. Why would you want to be like “The Jones”? Think about it. Well, you rationalize The Jones’ status in the society scale; you like it, you want to be like The Jones. Another way to look at it is you’re not worth as much as The Jones. If only you could be like The Jones (even superficially), you’d be worth well, The Jones’. Anything wrong with that picture? Ponder for a moment what it means to be like The Jones. Is it the house they live (have) in? Is it the car they drive? Is it the job they hold? Is it the way they dress? Is it the way they talk? Or is it because of the way you perceive them? So, why longing to be like The Jones?
What’s wrong with being you?
As it is probably obvious by now, although society’s dictate has great influence on all of us, we and we alone are in a position to ascertain our worth. We can either embrace society’s dictate and accept its verdict about our worth (mainly we are less worth than the other guy/gal) or we can adopt our own premise of our worth. Society’s dictate has no upside. If you feel worthless, there is only one person to blame, look in the mirror.
Irrespective of our social status, our wealth, our education, everyone matters as much as everyone else. Because we have lost sight of this very simple truth, we have created a society that tells us otherwise. To put it in perspective, how much better death do you think the richest individual in the world has than the ordinary man or even the homeless man? How much better do you imagine his body would decompose once underground compared to the ordinary man?
If you feel you do not matter, it’s because you’ve relinquished your worth, for every single individual matters as much as the next guy/gal. You matter as much as the President of the United States; you matter as much as the Queen of England. You matter because you just do.Follow @mducheiney