Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Recently Rabbi Boteach posted this video on what people fear, focusing on the idea that what we mainly fear is the feeling of insignificance. His approach to combat this feeling is to recognize that we all have worth because God has given our lives a special significance. You can watch the video here:
While I commend the positive outlook in this video I think this philosophy doesn't do real service to self-esteem. Ultimately this perspective is just a band-aid to maturing and dealing with the issue of self-worth. If the only way to feel special is to imagine there is some deity that thinks you are special then you are simply reinforcing the concept that you yourself don't have the capacity to be satisfied and fulfilled by your own life. The idea that fulfillment and value only comes from the exterior and how others view you.
I prefer not to rob people of an authentic appreciation of self-worth. People are special not because others think they are special. They are special because just being alive is a tremendous experience. Having conscious thought and experiences is amazing.
It is here that I agree partly with Rabbi Boteach. By spending most of our time trying to prove to others that we are valuable by appealing to their sense of worth we undermine our own lives. But this also goes for God as well. We don't need a God to validate our own existence. We only need to pursue actions that are meaningful to us. To act in line with our own beliefs and sense of value. It is this that brings value to our lives.
Yes the party will continue on after I leave it. But the fact I was able to be at that party at all, and to experience it in my own way and to appreciate it for what it is for the time I was there is something of great value.