There Is No Ladder

Several years ago, I heard a public speaker say that if you are in a group of people and someone said, rank everyone on this ladder of best to worst….you could do it.  The speaker then said, “There is no ladder.”  But he was right, if you were in a group of a few folks, you could put them on this non-existent ladder. You could do best to worst.  You could do dumbest to smartest.  You could do shortest to tallest.  You could do poorest to richest.  And….you could do this without asking questions….you’d make a ton of assumptions. Thing is, we don’t have to be asked to put folks on a ladder.  We do it on our own, inside our heads.  In the eating disorder treatment world, we determine thinnest to fattest….or sickest to least sick.  In the mental health world, we do “craziest” to least crazy or least to worst traumas.  For now, I just want to notice we do it and see if we can find the code behind why we do it.  My theory is that we are determining our worth. Somewhere along the line, a lot of us start to feel like we aren’t worth love and belonging.  Or that we aren’t as worth it as someone else.  We want to feel a sense of something, so we start comparing ourselves to others to see where we fall on whatever ladder we are looking at for that day….that I think is code for my worth.  So next time you start looking at those around you, putting them on whatever ladder for the moment, ask yourself what this is really about…Do I need to know my worthiness ratio?  Truth is, my worth has nothing to do with someone else’s worth.  I need back up out of everyone’s stuff and look at my self, by myself.  Scary?  Absolutely!  But figuring out that you have value and worth PERIOD is at the core of so much healing.  Seem impossible?  For most of us, it usually does.  We can start by remembering, at the very least, there is no ladder!