Self-Worth is a deep-seeded belief in the value of oneself. This belief sprouts into different characteristics that give clues to the strength of the child’s Self-Worth belief. Similarly, clues such as anxiety and complacency are clues for barriers that inhibit Self-Worth.
To varying levels, society suppresses Self-Worth in its quest for conformity. Voluntary conformity can continue to breed Self-Worth. On the other hand, involuntary conformity, reinforced by negative feedback, commonly experienced in educational institutions and in destitute environments, can subvert self-worth. In self-defense, the child creates barriers to these stimuli.
It must be remembered that it is not the stimulus, be it a math exam, a sports race, a leadership role, or a group activity, that forces the creation of the barriers. It is the involuntary conformity that is spearheaded by negative feedback. Unfortunately, the conditioning of the child associates the barriers with the stimulus, not the involuntary conformity.
For example, if a child who fails a math exam at a young age, it is not the exam that creates an anxiety for or disinterest in math, it is the negative feedback from the parents or teacher that is applied to force a conformity to study to prove their value in the next exam. Rather, a system in which the value in the child is never questioned, but the child is allowed to voluntarily attempt the exam and without the fear of negative feedback, would allow the child to find their self-worth in their progress as opposed to the approval (or disapproval) due to their result.
The analogy of a video game is an interesting one. In a math, a child who fails an exam once or twice is classified at a young age as not having an aptitude for math. From then on, the child begins to have a fear or disinterest in math. However, in a video game, no matter how violently the child fails in the game, and no matter how many times, the child takes joy in even the smallest modicum of progress. They continue to play the game over and over regardless of the result. This is the power of self-worth.
Therefore, the solution is to not “convince” the child that they should believe in themselves, but allow them to experience those same stimuli (i.e. the math exam) without the involuntary conformity and the negative feedback. This enables them to separate the stimulus from the source of their self-worth barrier.
The transition from Self-Worth barrier to Intrinsic Self-Worth shining through is a three-step process. Since it was the result of outside relationships (teacher or parents) that provided the negative feedback and the involuntary conformity, it must be an outside relationship which shows that the opposite is possible given the same stimulus. Our Program Admins provide this role. The interim stage is that when the barriers are removed, the child perceives a shared worth in themselves, shared between themselves and the program admin.
The final stage is for the child to experience this Self-Worth in growing separation from the Program Admin. While in the interim stage, the Program Admin handholds the child as he is guided through his barriers. In the final stage, the child is given more and more freedom to navigate his barriers, with the Program Admin returning for the celebration and the reflection after each barrier is crossed.