Self-worth is what allows us to use our abilities to become the best possible version of ourselves and know that we deserve to lead a life of fulfillment. Building up this consciousness is essential for our spiritual growth. Self-worth requires that we learn to have certainty in our own feelings and have confidence in our decision-making abilities.
Interestingly, babies and young children naturally have a sense self-worth, but as we grow up life can often wear it away. Being constantly criticized by family, friends, and society tends to slowly strip us of our feelings of self-worth. Rav Berg would mention that as we become adults our consciousness also becomes ‘adulterated’. The way we think creates our reality, so making sure we think positively is the key to manifesting blessings and success.
The energy available this week can support us in building the consciousness of true self-worth.
The portion of Beshalach tells the famous story of the splitting of the Red Sea, where the Israelites escape the Egyptian army on their way to freedom. Throughout history, many people have commented on this miracle and several feature films have even been made to animate the story. Kabbalistically speaking, this story is a code about spiritual freedom from our ego, which includes feelings of low self-worth.
In kabbalistic terms, a sense of self-worth comes from a connection to the Light of the Creator. When we act like the Light, which means being the cause, this similarity of form allows us to receive more Light. Being the effect blocks out the Light and will reduce our sense of self-worth. The Light cannot enter a vessel that feels incomplete. We can listen to positive affirmations about self-worth all day long, but because of the limitations of our mind it is somehow never enough. We need the help of the Light.
When we rely solely on others to make decisions for us or look for approval from other people, we become the effect.
Rav Berg suffered from a potentially life-threatening and debilitating stroke in 2004. The Rav mentioned in an interview that on waking up from the coma, his first thought was that it was a test – “Will I break down and say, ‘God get me out of this’, or am I going to say, ‘I’m going to get myself out of this?’” Months later, against all medical logic, the Rav was up teaching classes again! This is similar to the test the Israelites faced as they stood in front of the Red Sea. It really is up to us to create the miracles we need in our lives.
Moses called out to the Creator, and the Creator replied, “Why are you crying out to me? – Tell them to jump into the sea.” The Creator was implying that we need to take positive action, and through our willingness to move forward in certainty with the Light, we can bring about a miracle. We are in this world to become partners in creation and we cannot expect everything to be done for us.
One of the Israelites, a man called Nahshon, demonstrated true self-worth and didn't wait for anyone to make the decision for him. He didn't compare himself to the people around him or seek their approval. He had enough of a connection to his self-worth to wade out into the sea with absolute certainty and make it happen. He trusted his feelings and he trusted the Light.
Self-worth crashes when we let others make all our decisions for us. Initially, this may be easier and more comfortable, but ultimately it turns into the hard way because we will always find ourselves as the effect. If the people who make decisions for us disappear from our life, we are left alone and doubtful. That is a very dark place to end up in and it's more likely to happen than not if we aren’t prepared to make decisions for ourselves.
We can use this week to find more self-worth and also have the certainty to split any ‘Red Sea’ in our life. We need to start by knowing who we are and identifying our gifts, and use those gifts to change the lives of those around us. This is the first step towards finding happiness and a better life.