I watched a talk by Simon Sinek this morning. I heard about Simon a while back and have watched a few of his talks. He is an eloquent public speaker who knows how to get his message across. This one was no different. Despite him sitting down on my computer screen, I still felt his presence and passion for this topic.
Perhaps you might want to watch it before reading more because I’m not going to be bothered to explain that our generation is a spoiled generation. To briefly quote what he said, we give participation medals for those who come in last, we tell people that they can do anything if they want it just because they want it. The narrative on my Facebook feed is not very different from that and I have a slight problem with that. I have a slight problem that people understand this message of ‘You’re Worth It’ wrongly. Because when you tell someone you’re special and can do anything, it empowers them. As they slowly believe this idea, they will place themselves higher and higher on the worth scale. And you may think that this is not a problem and with the increasing rate of depression and mental illnesses, that doesn’t seem like a bad idea. But also, how often have you seen children throwing tantrums because their parents didn’t buy them that toy they want. This is not just an analogy, I do witness this quite often.
You see, my problem is not with people giving themselves a higher mark on that scale of worth but their tendency to put others lower on it. It’s not about the message but how the message is delivered and received. What is the message? You’re a superstar. Why is it so? Not a clue. No one talks about this. They just tell each other ‘You deserve better than this’ and then go on with life.
As cognitive creatures, we like reasons to arguments. But when none is given, many are lazy to think for themselves. In this context, simply saying “You’re amazing” to Penny* makes her subconsciously put herself the subject of any argument. Subsequently she might develop pride. Not confidence, but pride and ego. Why? Just because people say she is worth it, whatever ‘it’ is and no matter whatever she does.
Instead, if they do have a reason to back it up this statement, the statement will instead become something like “I’m worth it because they show it.” They sacrificed their time for me, and I appreciate that. They listened attentively when I was down, they must think I’m worth it, I will think so too. The relationship then becomes not only a transaction of well-meant-but-empty praises, but something that transforms someone from the inside out. Pride and ego then becomes humility and empathy.
And hopefully they will see someone else who needs the message, they will think: “I will be there for them, because someone else had been there for me.” I will love others because I was loved.
Throwing the words “you’re worth it” to a thousand people will not help any of them, but showing ten people that they are, will.
*using this name because I don’t think I’ve ever met a Penny