8 thoughts on ““Unconditional Worth” or Cherishing Your “Me-ness”…

  • February 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    As part of my social work training, we learned about the core social work value of ‘unconditional human regard’. Basically what that means is no matter what someone has done, they deserve to be treated as a human being, with decency and respect. It is a powerful idea that let’s social workers do what we do…… work with those who are looked down upon by the rest of society.

    • February 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Thank you, Julie.

      I don’t know why we “lay people” don’t focus on “unconditional worth,” as parents, friends, sisters, co-workers, in our everyday lives.

      Why don’t we try not to “look down upon” people? Why are we so competitive? I know the answer. It’s greed, I suppose. Underneath everything. Even though the scientists are quantifying “happiness” we now know it’s not about having gobs of money.

      I would think it’s about “unconditional worth.” Then, perhaps, we might be able to feel loving and more loved.

      When I searched the Psych Central website for other references to “unconditional worth” I couldn’t find any. I emailed our editor to ask her about this concept and she said she as unfamiliar with it.

      Why don’t we focus on “unconditional worth” more?

      I guess that’s my point and I really appreciate your explanation of its meaning. Did you read any of Carl R. Rogers work in your training?


  • February 5, 2012 at 2:29 am

    I do value “unconditional worth”, and even though it’s a new term for me, I realised that I have believed in it, lived it and nurtured others’.

    It disappointed me to read that elements that hurt the ‘core self’ or tarnish the beauty of a person gets directed to yet another anti-DSM comment. How reductionist. How hypocritical. I’m not a fan of pathologising the human condition, nor a fan of over-categorising, but I’d like to keep my faith in the capacity for the ‘core self’ and for that essential beauty to shine through anything.

    It’s not tarnished by struggles or by unwellness, even when individuals behave badly, or are hurt, or hurt others. It’s not jeopardised by bad mental health or bad choices, regardless of whether we pathologise it or not. The environment can’t ruin it, even when things go terribly wrong. In fact, it shines in spite of it and because of it for every single person out there.

    To see any less would be selling them, and ourselves, far too short.

  • February 5, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Hi sandy,

    Maybe “true self” and “authentic self” are similar ideas? It’s the self with essentially valuable and meaningful qualities… 🙂

    • February 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Shelley,

      Both these comments resonated with me and were very thought-provoking. So much so, that I’m working on a blog post to address some of the issues you discuss. They relate to the work I’m doing in my therapy on self-esteem and body image (oh, how I wish there was another term for that) … so heartfelt thanks.

      And though you were disappointed in my anti-DSM comment, I will be addressing that point very specifically. It’s one I feel very strongly about, as I’ve been misdiagnosed many times and mistreated and misunderstood, as a result. Luckily, I have also had some excellent psychiatric support.

      Take care and thank you. I hope you don’t mind my using your comment as a springboard for a blog post. I will not mention your name or link to your comment in that post.

      Core self. True self. Authentic self. Language is so powerful, isn’t’ it?


  • February 7, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Hi Sandy. I don’t recall if we read any Carl Rogers, but we definitely learned about the hierarchy of needs.

    As far as the ‘looking down’…..I don’t always think it’s greed. I think it’s a way of ‘othering’ those who have had misfortunate in their lives. We ‘regular’ folks like to think that life can’t happen to us, the way it’s happened to those who end up on disability and on the street. We don’t want to think about how fragile the realities of our lives are – and so by looking down on others, we can remove ourselves from having to think about our own vulnerability.

  • February 7, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Hi Sandy,

    You are more than welcome to use my comment as a springboard.

    Heartfelt thanks to you, too. I think we’re essentially on the same page. I’ve been misunderstood due to the DSM, too.

    But I think that despite its limitations and clinical-ness (i.e. dry and categorical and not-so-compassionate), that at the end of the day it does strive to understand, to describe and to empower each of us to the best of its abilities. And it does try to reach as far as it can, provide as much guidance as it can, to clinicians and laypeople alike, across tremendous diversity. And some of us still fall through the cracks.

    But that unconditional worth and essence? No one can take that away from us. (Or away from what we share in session, either, with someone who (finally) understands.)

    Not even helpers with the DSM who didn’t know better, who didn’t see clearly enough, didn’t hear deep enough, didn’t care hard enough.

    And at a time where the DSM is so contentious (development of DSM-5), I guess I got overly sensitive like only one with personal reasons would. I hear an echo of familiar arguments and on the other side I imagine all the people who had given up on the DSM and on psychiatry and/or psychotherapy as a whole, and I wonder why all the people who agree with you weren’t enough for you. I guess I felt stuck in the chasm between 2 polarised sides and wonder what would it take to reconcile these old differences and let the unconditional worth shine after all? What would it take to be enough?

    Apologies for jumping the gun though, and thank you for allowing me to voice this. I wish you all the best and I look forward to reading your new blog post.

    Take care,

    • February 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      My post will get into this, but for now, I hope you don’t mind if I request that we agree to disagree.
      More later. And no apologies are ever necessary, here. This is a free forum. All opinions are welcome and I am honoured that we can have this kind of civilized discourse with each other.
      Your experience and your ideas, your thoughts and feelings are yours. They are valid. Based on your experience. There is no right or wrong. But there are different opinions and impressions.
      I’m looking forward to finishing the post I’ve started.
      Sending you all my best and until our next “engagement” have a peaceful meantime…


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