Are some people better than others?
Sometimes we feel that way. For instance, we might look at other people and believe they are more successful, talented, gorgeous, handsome, or wealthy than we are. And these observations make us feel like they are better than us.
Or, on a related note, we may believe we are more successful, talented, gorgeous, handsome, or wealthy than others and decide, accordingly, that we are better than them in some way.
Or perhaps we look at people who seem like they make bad choices and destroy themselves and others in the process. And then, on the other hand, we look at other folks making awesome choices and helping everyone around them.
It certainly feels like the helping kind of folks are better than the destructive kind of folks.
Most of us have experienced such feelings at one point or another.
But such feelings can cause a lot of despair and anxiety.
For instance, if we feel like other people are better than us, it can make us feel depressed and anxious. We may feel like we aren’t good enough or that we don’t have worth as a human being.
Accordingly, we feel like a failure.
And even when we feel better than others, this feeling can still make us feel anxious. That’s because the positive feeling we get from feeling better than other people is unstable.
After all, any person can come along and be better than us in some way. That makes our “positive” feeling of superiority always in jeopardy of being lost.
Drawing and painting by Shelly P. Johnson.
So, we may feel like we must constantly prove ourselves to maintain our superiority in comparison to other people.
And even when we just focus on folks who are helping, rather than destroying others, we may worry that somehow, despite our best intentions, we will become one of the destructive folks.
Or we may feel like we are not helpful enough.
Such beliefs can also cause a lot of anxiety and despair.
Despite how painful the belief that some people are better than others is, it is, unfortunately, one of the most common beliefs in contemporary society.
There are many different sources for this belief. You can read more about this here: Why We Often Feel Bad about Ourselves
In this post, I want to point out that the belief that some people are better than others is not helping anyone.
And there is a much better mindset we can adopt to take its place.
But before I tell you about this mindset, I invite you to use your imagination with me.
Imagine that you are in a flower garden surrounded by a variety of different flowers like roses, sunflowers, and coneflowers, just to name a few.
You stand looking at the flowers and are delighted by their varied, individual beauty.
Photo by Shelly P. Johnson
And perhaps you prefer coneflowers. But you recognize your preference for what it is.
And you realize further that your preference does not make coneflowers better than other flowers. It’s simply that you prefer coneflowers.
And perhaps you recognize one day that the coneflower is wilted and browning around the edges.
You recognize that this likely means that the coneflower doesn’t have the appropriate nutrients like water or soil nutrients that it needs. And you know that the coneflower’s original beauty and value is still present. It just needs restoration.
And in fact, we understand that everything in nature has its own unique beauty and goodness. For instance, there aren’t some trees and flowers that are better than other trees and flowers.
When it comes to nature, we are especially good at practicing something called the Intrinsic Worth Mindset.
When we practice this mindset with things in nature—like flowers—we recognize that things in the natural world do not have to do more to express their worth. And they don’t have to compete with things in nature.
Rather, we recognize the purpose of flowers and everything else in nature is to cultivate and express the worth they already have inside them. And given proper resources and nurture, things in nature will do so!
For example, when flowers have proper nutritious soil, as well as water and air, they easily and natural express the beauty they possess internally.
Now I have a question: Why wouldn’t it be the same as human beings?
That is, why wouldn’t it be the case that the purpose of human beings is not to compete with each other or do more to express their worth? Rather, what if our purpose is to express the worth we already have inside of us?
And what if, given proper resources and nurture, we express the beauty and worth inside of us easily and naturally?
If this is the case, then it means that it is not true that some people are better than others. Rather, we all possess amazing beauty and worth, and the purpose of our life is to express it.
Our job is to express the worth we already have inside of us and to support others as they do the same.
This is love expressed towards ourselves that we then express towards others. In All about Love, bell hooks writes,
“The light of love is always in us, no matter how cold the flame. It is always present, waiting for the spark to ignite, waiting for the heart to awaken.”
You can find All about Love at your local bookstore or at Amazon here: All About Love.
If you would like to learn more about intrinsic worth, you might like this recent podcast I did with Catherine Alonzo, a new friend of mine:
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And you might like this online course I recently published on four things that are truth about all of us. We are worthy, capable, connected, and called to adventure: The Four Basic Truths