So we talk a lot about valuing ourselves, this creates self-esteem and self-confidence and allows us to be all we should be.
But what is self-value? How do you know you have it? If we don’t know what it is or how to feel or understand it, how can we get it?
Well I might be able to help, in a really simple and easy way to see it, feel it and apply it and understand it.
For this I’m going to use 2 things, Maslow Hierarchy of needs theory, and banking, yes banking. Oh and our case study, Fred.
So first concept,
Quite simple, the lower levels are what we need to achieve before we move on the next level, and so we do this until we reach the top where we, self-actualize, or in my words become everything we should be.
So to begin to understand if we are reaching our levels, we need to go back to birth.
All babies need, is feeding, warmth, and liquids to survive, they have no need for anyone unless they are going to supply these needs, and it’s that simple, they quickly recognize who supplies this, by smell, by touch, by voice, etc.
So here we will now look at banking.
So we all know babies are born with these innate needs, now let’s say hypothetically these needs are classed as £1000, so every baby has £1000 in the ‘Bank of value’.
However they have no power to know how this is managed as babies/children, so they have to trust the adults to do this for them.
This £1000 never goes above £1000 but it can go down, you don’t know how much is in the bank, you just get notified by the ‘Bank of value’, your money has gone down or up, you don’t know how or why, because to know how or why you need to be an adult, so the bank doesn’t tell the child.
How does it go down? Well every time the baby is not getting their innate needs met, they lose money, every time they are scared, they lose money, every time they are made to feel anxious they lose money.
This makes the child wary and scared because someone might take their money out of their bank, and it is really hard to put this money back, so they start to build strong vaults around their bank, to secure it from depleting anymore.
This happened to Fred, and so now he is a little scared, and angry, he has temper tantrums, he doesn’t sleep well, and he is struggling in school. ‘Bank of Value, tell him he is losing money but because he doesn’t know how or why, he doesn’t know what to do to stop it, this makes him frightened, scared and frustrated which leads to him being angry.
So now Fred is at school, he is now looking to make friends, but he struggles and gets into trouble at school. He hit a boy who was bullying him and had taken money out of his bank, the school tell his parents, they don’t listen to Fred and so he gets more punishment and this hurts again, so now he doesn’t feel secure, he doesn’t feel safe, and now his money is going out of his bank again, he doesn’t know what to do. He decides I know I have to build a strong wall around my bank. He is tired of having to keep watching his bank, he is angrier than ever now, he doesn’t really speak to his family, and he withdraws into his world.
Part of Fred’s world is his love of music, he has taught himself to sing, he likes singing, and his choir teacher told him he had a lovely voice and should try and be a singer.
But no one in his family listens to him so he stopped singing in front of them, but it makes him feel happy, and sometimes not all the time if he has sang particularly well, a little bit of money goes into his bank.
It’s exhausting to keep checking all his money hasn’t gone, but he has to be on top of it all the time. He decided to not have friends, or share anything in case they take money out of his bank.
So Fred is now a young adult, his money has depleted a lot over the years, and now the ‘Bank of Value’ tell him he is now in charge of the account because he is an adult now.
He wants to go out and have a relationship, he meets someone, they are nice, they make him smile, he feels happy, he feels his bank account is getting some money back into it, this feels great. He brings them home to meet his family, they all get on well, his bank balance is improving, and this is brilliant.
Fred takes his partner to a gig he wants to go to, they are both looking forward to it, while listening to the artist Fred starts to sing along. His partner says to stop, that people were looking, Fred is embarrassed and stops, he feels a little hurt and ashamed, he thinks his partner doesn’t like his singing. When he goes home, again more money has gone out of his bank, when he asks the bank they simply say, “because of you”.
One day, they are supposed to go out on a date, but his partner cancels, his bank balance drops, he feels anxious, he can’t sleep.
When he sees his partner the next time, he struggles to trust they are not going to take out of his bank, so he feels withdrawn from them.
Fred is now realising he can’t trust anyone with his bank, he needs to do something, his bank is getting low. He has decided on a devilish plan, what if I make my partner put back the money I’ve lost, over all these years. Obviously I can’t tell them an amount ‘Bank of Value ‘rule they have to guess, because by guessing if they get it right I might double the amount of money going in, if they get it wrong, I can make them lose money out of their bank, by making them feel bad or anxious for not successfully guessing what I need, so now they can see how it feels.
What Fred hasn’t realised or doesn’t know fully, the bank of value does not allow anyone but the owner of the account to put money in.
Fred continues to hatch his plan, I will make them put money in my bank, that way, if it doesn’t go up, it’s their fault and I will know immediately, then I can tell them, you are not smart or clever, or how useless they are, or I will take money out of their bank, by telling them, oh you should not wear that outfit, or stop talking please your boring people, then they can know how it feels to lose money.
His partner leaves him, they didn’t know how to stop him being so mean or hurting himself, but also hurting them.
Over the years, he has many partners, but now he goes into each relationship, testing them.
He cheats, he drinks, he uses other substances because for a few minutes or hours he feels good, and his bank goes up, but getting sober his bank goes down double what it was the day before he drank, had an affair, used substances, so he may have to repeat the behaviour to just feel his bank go up, even for just that short period.
So Fred now gives the responsibility of his rise or fall in his bank balance to his partner, his substances, or others, he doesn’t trust he can keep his bank happy.
His partners leave because they ask him, how much do you need for me to stop you doing these things, he doesn’t know, they can’t guess, he then blames them, and then continues the behaviours.
Fred needs to start believing in himself, but his life’s experiences have taught him he is not good at managing his Bank of Value.
His partners have tried to fill his bank, some have suggested he starts singing again, to make him feel happy, he might do, but unless they sit with him all the time he is singing and cheer louder than anyone else then he thinks they want him to do that so they can take from his bank, so that makes him distrust more.
Sadly, like Fred if we have a depleted value, for whatever reason it can and usually does affect all our beliefs and choices we make for ourselves and our relationships.
So here I hope I have helped you to see how SELF value works, how it can be damaged, how we might believe we get self-value from others but how impossible that is.
You will notice I didn’t discuss here the two top levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, because if we are still trying to figure how valuable we are to ourselves, we don’t have esteem, and we cannot I believe become who we have a right to be.
Oh, what happened to Fred? He wanted to know how he could help himself, feel safe, and how to be happy.
He went to counselling/therapy he worked really hard, and started to rise to the last two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy
How do we know we may have a low a depleted Bank of Value?
We may: Rely on social media to tell us how good we are.
You may use: Alcohol, Drugs, Gambling and Affairs.
We may need our partners to tell us how good we are, constantly need reassurance, but don’t feel we get it.
We feel our partners don’t love us enough, don’t care enough, don’t show it, we are always looking for them to prove it, yet it’s never enough.
We are jealous of them, or other people.
We blame others, its other people’s fault we feel bad.
We people please.
We criticise our partners, looks, behaviours, friends, views.
If we do something and it’s not recognised we may sulk.
We presume the behaviour of others, when they negative it’s because of us.
You artificially inflate your ego because you may believe someone is above you.
Or tear the other person down to your level (leveling)
Tearing anyone down or critiquing them is a sign of low self esteem
Control all our intimate relationships, even ones we are no longer in. E.g., ex partners, divorced.
We may isolate ourselves so we don’t get involved with people because it hurts too much.
My name is Mary T Aaron, I am a therapist, and I work in the field of relationships, regardless who or what with, we all have a right to be who we want to be, we just have to figure the tools and work through, why not call for free 30 minute consultation, to see if I can help.