I’m on a plane on my way to Pasadena to speak at the Hay House I Can Do It conference, where I’ll be surrounded by well-intentioned spiritual self-help authors who are committed to helping people live their best lives. At these events, which I’ve spoken at many times now, I’ll hear people come up to these celebrity Hay House authors and gush about how their lives were saved because of the books they wrote. I have no doubt these gushers genuinely mean it. It’s an honor to share the stage with these life saving pioneers.
But (I hate to put a “but” here because I’m so grateful to Hay House and so in awe of some of these wonderful authors) something about all this keeps troubling me.
What Motivates Visionaries?
When I got back from World Domination Summit this summer, I wrote this post about what motivates visionaries to try to change the world. The conference was full of well-intentioned do-gooders trying to make the world a better place. Amazing things were being birthed as a result of this impulse to do good. But I couldn’t help wondering whether this impulse to be of service came from a pure, noble intention or whether it came from some sort of underlying sense of unworthiness or ego-driven motivation. In other words, why do we do what we do?
In the comments on that post about World Domination Summit, a few people argued, “Who cares why? As long as the world is benefiting from these impulses, why question them?” Yet as one of those self-help author do-gooder types who is committed to getting my own ego out of the driver’s seat and letting the Divine take the wheel, it matters to me.
Is Your Self-Worth Tied To How Helpful You Are?
I have a theory about all of this. I think those of us who commit to acts of altruism on behalf of making the world a better place do so because it makes us feel better about ourselves. Something within us doesn’t feel good enough/ valuable enough/ worthy enough unless we’ re devoted to helping others. We don’t believe that we’re good and valuable and worthy not because of any external action but because we all have within us a spark of the Divine which makes us inherently worthy. So we go out and help people, and people tell us how we’ve saved their lives, and then we feel more worthy. We matter because we matter to someone else. Then our worried, scared, “never good enough” egos feel better. Read More→