COLUMN: How important is significance?

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by Dr. John Lapp

Significance? Well, everybody wants to count for something. Everybody wants to feel significant. But, sometimes the search becomes an obsession and causes much undue stress and still the search is often not successful.
Feeling significant comes as we believe we have worth, value, dignity, etc. Belief that we have significance is a belief that, in effect, our existence has made a difference in the life of someone, whether family member, friend, or even at our place of employment.
In fact, it does not have to be a great difference, just a difference. Just a word of appreciation from another person, maybe even a ‘pat on the back’ can help.
Having value and dignity are important factors, but depending on how we seek them, we can become deluded and consumed by the search.
Another factor is that we are surrounded by significance seekers whose search can damage our own search, along with also damaging our own sense of self-worth, which now brings me to the real purpose of this article, namely the problem of mistaken beliefs.
The subject and treatment of hundreds who have been diagnosed with mistaken beliefs has been a major part of my practice for the past several decades.
After taking the mistaken beliefs questionnaire, the results can be directed to helping the person be able to understand where these beliefs orginated, what to do about overcoming them and how to live a more productive life.
After scoring these results, the following five areas are explored along with affirmations to counter some of these beliefs:
1) You likely believe that you are powerless, have little or no control over outside circumstances, or are unable to do much that could help your situation. In sum, “I’m powerless” or “I can’t do much about my life.”
2) You likely believe that your self-worth is dependent on the love of someone else. You feel that you need another’s (or others’) love to feel OK about yourself and to cope. In sum, “my worth and security are dependent on being loved.”
3) You likely believe that your self-worth is dependent on others’ approval. Being pleasing and getting acceptance from others is very important for your sense of security and your sense of who you are. In sum, “my worth and security depend on the approval of others.”
4) You likely believe that your self-worth is dependent on external achievements such as school or career performance, status, or wealth. In sum, “my worth is dependent on my performance or achievements.”
5) You likely believe that you can’t trust, rely on, or receive help from others. You may have a tendency to keep a distance from people and avoid intimacy for fear of losing control. In sum, “if I trust or get too close, I’ll lose control.”
Out of everyone I’ve had to take the mistaken beliefs questionnaire, only one person in several hundred participants  has scored sufficiently high on all five of these areas. But, I’ve had several who have scored at a three or four and who have successfully worked through the process of developing a more realistic sense of self-worth.
Significance is important, as well as self-worth. However, in the pursuit, it is of utmost importance to be realistic and, as a result, be able to better accept yourself.
For more information, call 477-2818. For comments, suggestions or questions about this or any other topic, email johnlapp36 @yahoo.com.