Humans are wired for connection. This is as true for babies, as it is for children, teens, adults and the elderly. We all need to have secure relationships with other people in which we feel understood, cared for and valued, as this allows us to grow and discover more of ourselves and of life than when there is no one to connect with. Having others around us who care about our wellbeing and are invested in us and our lives means that we feel seen, understood, and protected in times of insecurity, loss and vulnerability, as well as having someone to share the good times.
The feeling of being worthy of love and connection may be relatively easy for someone who has grown up in a family where their worthiness was never questioned; where the child continually felt a sense of love and approval coming from the people around them, including their parents, siblings, friends, teachers and family members. However, the task of owning one’s own self-worth is far more difficult for people who have grown up in an environment that was critical, punitive or cold, because as a child they received a faulty and negative message about their innate self-worth. Even in some families where there is a general feeling of being cared for and accepted, some children may not receive the specific kind of attention and nurturance that they need to thrive, due to other factors such as other family members receiving a larger share of the attention in the family, or simply being a more sensitive child.
In order for people to successfully form stable and secure relationships in adulthood, we need to make a conscious decision about our own self-worth and also the value of our thoughts, feelings and reactions within own close relationships. This can be achieved through the conscious and deliberate practice of developing new beliefs about being deserving of supportive relationships, and the valuing of one’s own thoughts and feelings in intimate relationships. This can be difficult to achieve if there is years of previous conditioning and faulty messages that you are unworthy of love and connection. However, with discipline, practice and support, this is achievable and possible, so that all of us can return to a sense of worthiness and stable connections.