“At the cost of eliminating egotism, we have trampled over self worth. If human beings merit respect that is an intrinsic right of all mankind, then this right needs to be extended to the self.” — W. Riso

I’m reading Walter Riso, an Argentian counselor and university professor. The book is titled, “Learning Self Worth.” Riso argues how easy it is for the inner life to get sucked into the vortex of hurry sickness, discord, competition, individualism and obsession with appearances. Even though it’s hard to admit it. A friend translated this message in Biblical terms saying life is like being a Mary in a world where the Marthas rule.

A wise man once said our search for approval can be so wide and so deep it can convert itself in a serpentine insecurity. What develops over the years is an anxiety to please, instead of a healthy philosophy of questioning and exercising our own criteria. We become socially conditioned to yield our power of decision as if we were second class citizens, convinced we have to conform.

Walter Riso claims civilization indoctrinates us toward respect, sacrifice, altruism, love, kindness and communication as something devoted only toward others and never to be applied to self. He states:

“Unfortunately, our mentality has been focused upon what others think as being more important than what we think and so we become victims of such ill fate. Our culture has taught us to carry an invisible stick that is ready to inflict harm upon ourselves each time we commit errors or don’t quite measure up to our own standards or personal goals. We’ve learned to blame ourselves for everything that goes wrong and never take credit for that which is successful. If we fail, we take the blame. If we are successful, it was pure luck. Self-criticism is good and productive if we administer it with care.”

Lack of self worth is demonstrated in our view of spare time. Riso raises the some points worth considering:

“If work dignifies man, so does rest and recreation. We plan so rigorously our working day with schedules, budgets, visits here and there, even an oil change for the car and dentist appointments. However, when it comes to free time, we view it as something altogether residual… something left over and many times we have no idea what to do with it. Work is considered sacred while free time is not. Society pushes us at a rate of 100 miles per hour where there’s no time to contemplate the scenery. If anyone stops, everyone one else will run this person over in the dust.”

It’s good to learn to feel comfortable in your own skin and to feel it’s ever too late to learn.

~ vincenzo
*originally written 2008