Worthiness. Where does it come from? Self-esteem, feeling valuable … beliefs we acquire, not qualities that are doled out to us before we’re born. Every child comes into the world ready to be loved and cared for. And then we arrive at a conclusion about our value based upon the way we are treated.
April is Child Abuse Prevention month. It’s an opportunity to bring our attention to how we provide safety and ensure that children grow up knowing they are valued. This treatment becomes the basis of our sense of worthiness … or not.
We are wired-up to assume that the way we are treated and the environment we grow up in is a reflection of what we deserve. When a child is loved and cared for, when he/she is safe and respected, when the people around her are happy and things are predictably good, the child internalizes, “I’m terrific! I’m really loveable. I matter a lot!” But take that very same child and put him in a different kind of home where he is hit, called names, ignored, abused, told she’s a bother … when home is unpredictable and scary, that very same child will believe, “I’m nothing, I’m bad, worthless, shameful. I don’t deserve anything good.” Same child, different experience. It just works this way. We are designed for this to happen.
As we go through our lives with one or another of these beliefs: “I matter, I am essentially a good and valuable person” OR “I don’t matter, I’m no good, unlovable, a nothing,” you can see, or imagine, or know from your own experience how decisions emanate from these beliefs, steering the course of our lives; what we believe we deserve, how we treat ourselves, and how we let others treat us, what we believe about help and support, etc.
On Sunday, April 23 at 3 p.m. at the Watsonville Plaza, Survivors Healing Center, in partnership with the City of Watsonville, is hosting our Caring 4 Kids Rhythm Event, as part of Earth Day/Day of the Child Festival. Our event is supported by many local businesses and faith groups. Don Davidson will facilitate, bringing 200 percussion instruments for children and families to come together and make a joyful sound in honor of the well being of children and to call for a world in which we convey the value of each and every child.
Please join us! Visit www.caringforkidsevent.com for more information.
Amy Pine is a therapist and co-founder of Survivors Healing Center. Her opinions are her own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.