In 2016, a Dove survey reported that at least 50% of women struggle with their self-worth. With all of our body positivity and self-love movements, why are so many women still struggling in this way? What are we missing? And, if you struggle with self-worth, what can you do to experience victory in such a difficult fight?
What is self-worth and why does it matter?
Self-worth, or self-esteem, is a sense of one’s own value as a human being. Simply put, it’s the opinions we have about who we are.
Self-worth matters because we tend to live our lives based on the core attitudes and thoughts we have about ourselves. If we have a low sense of self-worth, we won’t truly be happy no matter what we do to try to fill the void.
We all have an innate desire to be loved, wanted, and accepted. We were created that way. However, if we search for love and acceptance in the wrong places, we will always come up short. There’s no magic program, no motivational speaker, no new diet, no boyfriend, brand new clothes, or amount of wealth that can help us feel loved, wanted, or accepted if we don’t already know where our worth comes from.
Where should we be finding our self-worth?
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.Colossians 3:1-4
Our worth is wrapped in who Jesus is and what he did for us on the cross. He died and rose to life to bring us freedom. We also died to our old life and rose to a brand new life in Christ. We are daughters of the God and king of the universe.
There is a God-sized void in our hearts that only he can fill. This is why our hearts naturally desire to glorify God. The deepest parts of us know that we need God. The thing is, when we fill God’s space with other things, we come up empty because nothing else can satisfy the longing of our hearts like he can.
Why do so many women struggle with self-worth?
There are so many reasons why women struggle with self-worth. We sometimes struggle because of the pressures of society, high expectations from family and friends, childhood struggles brought into adulthood, or even the desire to please a significant other.
The thing is, these are just symptoms of an underlying cause.
We’ve put other things in Jesus’ place.
Remember when I said there’s a God-sized void in our hearts only he can fill? Well, sometimes we unknowingly stuff other things inside and leave no room for God. He is the one we need. He takes us by the hand and teaches us about our worth according to his word. But, if we are consuming everything else but his truth, we will definitely struggle to find our self-worth.
The question is, who or what are you putting in God’s place? It could be causing you to have a low sense of self-worth.
I struggle with self-worth when I put my anxious thoughts about myself in God’s place. It mostly happens when I am surrounded by new people. I get nervous and I start to think about all of the possible ways I can say or do something wrong in the moment. I start to believe horrible lies about myself that do not line up with God’s truth. Here’s a picture of what my thought process looks like:
They won’t like me.
I’m not good enough for them.
I won’t fit in.
I won’t be accepted.
What if I don’t belong?
Truthfully, my struggle with self-worth in that moment quickly disappears when I stop focusing on myself. He deserves the glory, not me or my anxious thoughts.
What is the cure for our struggle with self-worth?
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:30-31
I don’t think I’m the only one who’s struggle with self-worth comes from being overly focused on myself. We are often our biggest enemy in the fight for victory against a low sense of self-worth.
If you notice, Jesus speaks often about loving God and others. He speaks very little about self-love. Don’t get me wrong, self-love is important but it’s also very natural for us. Don’t believe me? We’ll take any measure to make ourselves happy. We desire comfort and we love the status quo. We avoid pain and we seek instant gratification. The truth is, we naturally love ourselves, even if the love we have for ourselves isn’t the healthiest.
If we want to practice true self-love and strengthen our sense of self-worth, we should put God and others before us. Think about it. If we decide to spend our energy trying to welcome others, we won’t have time to feel unwelcome. And if we try to love others, we won’t have to worry about not feeling loved. If we give to others, we stop worrying about what we lack. The less we focus on ourselves, the more we see Christ.
What should you do if you struggle with self worth?
Love your neighbor as yourself
As I mentioned earlier, loving on someone else is a great way to win in the struggle with self-worth. You begin to think less about yourself and more about the other person, and suddenly, you’re no longer worrying so much about whether you’re enough or not. You’re simply trying to help someone else feel welcomed and loved.
Receive God’s love
Many of us are very familiar with loving others, and we love them well. Yet, we struggle to receive God’s love. If you struggle with self-worth, let go of everything that makes you feel like you’re not good enough and press into his love. The more of God’s love you receive, the more worthy you’ll feel as you begin to see yourself as he sees you.
Loving this article? You may also enjoy these articles exploring who you are in Christ:
- Five Empowering Truth’s About Your Identity in Christ
- Your Identity is in Christ and Not in Your Mistakes
- 25 Bible Verses About Your Identity in Christ
Read God’s Word
The best way to receive God’s love is by reading his word. It tells about the sacrifice Jesus made for you by willingly laying down his life on the cross. It tells you of how far God would go to rescue you – he leaves the 99 just to find the one lost sheep. The Bible says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by God’s word. The more you read, the more you will begin to believe. Your beliefs about God and what he says about you will transform you from feeling unworthy to knowing that you are worthy, always.
Speak God’s truth until you believe it
Next, speak God’s truth over your life. It’s not enough to just read it, you need to declare it too. The reality is, thoughts of unworthiness will come but if you declare God’s truth over yourself, those thoughts will not be able to overwhelm you.
Remember growth is a process
Growth is a process and you won’t be perfect the first time. You’ll fall down but simply get back up again. Keep trusting God to transform your thoughts and emotions to mirror his truth.
The truth is you are worthy because God says you are. Spend time with him and let his words transform how you see yourself. Start loving God with your whole heart and start loving your neighbor as yourself. Give, serve, and welcome others. While it won’t be instantaneous, God will help you to recognize and walk confidently in the truth about your worth in him.