Robert Lee Camp
Worthless, unlovable and unloved, useless, unwanted, undesirable, left alone, discarded. These words or others like them are the underlying belief that nearly everyone shares, a belief that lies close to the core of our being, and a belief that shadows mostly everything we do in life. It is not apparent to most of us. It lies hidden beneath our lives of activity and situations.
The last thing most of us want to do is look at it or even acknowledge its existence. It is the hidden secret we all share that influences all we do, think and say. Avoiding it is what motivates us. And when something or someone in our life reminds us of this hidden demon, we react with fear and other forms of negativity. And life is more or less constantly reminding us of it. Try this experiment sometime.
When something in your life upsets you, take a few minutes to go into it and see what is true. As you let yourself feel the ‘upset feelings’, ask yourself, what is inside of this feeling?
Go deeper into the feeling to see what it is pointing to. You will have to stay with the feeling to do this. If you let your mind have its way, it will do its usual tirade of trying to figure out a solution, or blaming something or someone on the upset.
Labeling, judging others, etc. are all mental avoidance techniques masking the underlying issue. And they always point your attention outside of us, away from the real issue and solution. Stay focused on the feeling. Once the feeling reveals what is underneath it or inside of it, ask the question again, ‘what is inside of this?’ I’ll give an example to illustrate.
One day recently my wife told me she was going to go away for a weekend with her friends, to a place where she and I have made plans to go. I immediately got upset. I let myself go into my feelings to investigate. ‘What am I actually feeling?’ I asked myself. I was feeling betrayed by her that she would make plans with her friends to go where we were planning a vacation. ‘What is inside this feeling of betrayal?’ Further delving into my feelings, I saw that I was afraid I would not be loved. And then it appeared to me like a flash, ‘I am worthless.’ That was the core issue, the thing that was awoken by her making plans with her friends.
I think if you try this a few times with anything in your life that upsets you, you will see that it always trickles down to this underlying position we hold for some unknown reason. You cannot know this intellectually. That is the trouble in writing about this. If you do not do this yourself, you may intellectually understand it, but you will have again successfully avoided it.
The mind is trying to protect us from this, it is not to blame. But to get to the truth you have to actually realize this for yourself, in your heart and not in your head. And it also requires us to turn our attention away from blaming others or the world for our upsets, big and small. No progress can be made while pointing our finger outside of ourselves. The truth can only be found within.
The more I practice this and it is not a set practice by any means, the more I see that underneath anything and everything that causes me upset, is this. Even very small things like getting stuck in traffic. But things like someone saying something negative about us, or not showing up to our party, or a myriad of other things can be the trigger that reminds us once again that deep, deep inside, we doubt our own worthiness in life.
You can say that each of us have some unique things that trigger our upset. For some, it is money, others, health, or relationships. There are so many possibilities.
But underneath all of these is a basic underlying belief that there is something wrong with us. When we get upset, we think that something or someone personally affronted us, but I can see now that this is a more or less universal situation.
It’s not personal and it is not your special problem. We are all dealing with this. One might say, it’s part of being human.
But to be more accurate, we can say that it is part and parcel of being identified with things that are not really who we are. It is misplaced identification that is preventing our true nature from being realized.
I see my life in the past and present. I was always an ambitious person and fairly lucky with work and money. What I didn’t realize until recently was that all of that ambition was hiding a deep inner sense of unworthiness. I was trying to prove that I was lovable and worthy by accomplishing and acquiring things. Isn’t that what the world keeps telling us? The person with the most money or best life situation is the one who has ‘made it.’
Now I look around and see everyone struggling to be better. I see the desperation that lies beneath their efforts, and I can see that hidden demon in them, because I can see it in myself. Of course all this effort-ing to achieve doesn’t actually work. No external thing, person, or situation can fill that inner void.
This is why many people who are hugely successful are very miserable. It’s not their fault, it’s just a fact that external accomplishments and things are not what is needed. They are unable to give us what we really want and need. What is needed is a face to face with our unworthiness, a meeting with the devil you might say. We have to be willing to really take a hard and deep look at what is actually true at our deepest levels. I am not going to tell you what happens when you do. I leave that up to you, the reader of this. But I will say that this is the only way to address our lives – in the truth of what is.
It is innate, in each of us, to want to be free. Free of this negative belief and free from anything that encumbers us having a natural expression. Life is meant to be natural, which is to say effortless and not requiring thought or mental manipulation. It is an important step in our evolution back to our natural state to face this inner demon of unworthiness and doubt. And to face it head on to see if, in fact, it is real or not. That is a question that only you can answer.