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Excerpted from Everyday Enlightenment by Dan Millman. Copyright © 1999 by Dan Millman. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Publishers and Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Remember that your sense of self-worth--of deservedness--is related to your perception of your relative goodness."

Dan Millman, Everyday Enlightenment, Part 4

A Self-Worth Wake-up Call

There is a danger of studying self-worth from a distance--exploring the issue the way some people explore Africa from an air-conditioned bus. Keeping a safe distance is more comfortable but far less useful than feeling its impact on your life right now.

Since your sense of self-worth (and tendency to self-sabotage) is usually subconscious, awareness of the problem is part of the solution. Here are three complementary methods to become aware of your sense of worth.

Life Scan: Rating Your Own Worth

Remember that your sense of self-worth--of deservedness--is related to your perception of your relative goodness. On the scale stretching from a totally bad person to a totally good person, where do you fall? Take a few minutes to scan your life intuitively, taking into account your relationship with your parents, siblings, and others at school, home, and work--the times you have been kind, courteous, generous, and supportive as well as the times you were less so. I am not asking you to remember many specific incidents, but, rather, to get an intuitive feel for your life as a whole. Then rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 100 as to your overall sense of worth. On a 1-100 scale, how good a person are you? A score of 100 would mean you deeply believe that you are totally good and therefore deserve a life filled with good things--love, joy, health, success, and fulfillment. A score of 1 would mean that you believe that you deserve the pits of hell. (Most of us fall somewhere in between.)

Stop reading until you have given yourself a rating.

This self-assessment has to do with your perceived worth rather than your innate worth. It's important to note that the most sensitive, self-reflective souls among us--those of us with the highest vision, ideals, and standards--often have the lowest sense of self-worth, because we constantly fail to meet our own idealized standards. Maybe that's why George Bernard Shaw once remarked that "the ignorant are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

Whether or not you consciously remember your past behaviors, the fact that you could come up with a number indicates that your subconscious mind has been keeping score. Seminar participants I've asked rate themselves across the spectrum--usually between 45 and 95, with most clustering around 60-80. In any event, if you rated yourself less than 100, you have self-worth issues to address. Welcome to the first gateway.

Self-Reflection on Self-Worth

In order to get a better sense of how your sense of worth impacts areas of your life, consider the following questions, and answer "Yes," "No," or "Sometimes."

When fortune smiles on you, do you think, "This can't last"? Do you find it easier to give than to receive? Does your life feel like a series of problems? Does money seem scarce and hard to come by? Do you find your work unfulfilling? Do you find your relationship(s) unsatisfying? Do you work long hours but not have much time to enjoy yourself? Do you resent or envy people who take frequent holidays? Do other people seem to have more fun than you do? Do you feel driven to work more, do more, be more than others? Do you overeat, smoke, drink alcohol every day, or use other drugs? Do you feel uncomfortable when you receive praise, applause, lots of attention, gifts, or pleasure? Have you turned down or passed up opportunities in education, work, or relationships and later regretted it? Do you get sick or injured more than other people? If someone asks the cost of your services, do you price yourself lower than others in your field?

If you answered "Yes" or "Sometimes" to more than half of these, then you stand to benefit from your journey through the first gateway.

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