In 2016, a Dove survey reported that at least 50% of women struggle with their self-worth. With all of our body positive 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 simply a sense of one’s own value as human beings. 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 be truly happy no matter what we do to try to fill that void.
We all have an innate desire to be wanted and accepted. We were created that way. However, if we don’t find acceptance in the right place, we’ll 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 more wanted, loved, or accepted if we haven’t already received those things from the right source.
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 identity and worth are wrapped in who Jesus is and what he did for us. He died and rose to life. We also died to our old life and rose to new life. Now, we no longer live for ourselves, we live for him. We’re less focused on ourselves and we’re more focused on how we can serve him.
There is a God-sized void in our hearts that only he can fill. Naturally, our hearts desire to glorify God. The thing is, when we try to fill that void with everything but God, we come up empty because no one and nothing can satisfy our heart’s longing but him.
Why do so many women struggle with self-worth?
Women struggle with self-worth for a variety of reasons. We sometimes struggle because of societal pressures telling us to be something we’re not, our parents’ expectations of us, childhood bullying or teasing, or even the desire for love from a significant other.
Sometimes, I believe our struggle with self-worth comes from being too focused on ourselves. Hear me out –
I typically struggle with self-worth when I’m surrounded by a group of new people. While some people’s comparison issues manifests as trying too hard, mine manifest as withdrawing. I subconsciously write myself off as not enough, and instead of opening up, I remain closed off.
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?
Are you beginning to notice a pattern? My struggle with self-worth comes from being overly focused on myself. I’m thinking about all the ways I don’t measure up instead of thinking about all that I can be for someone else.
While this isn’t the case for every woman, many of us struggle with self-worth when we focus more on us than on others.
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
If you notice, Jesus speaks very little about self-love and preservation. It’s not that they weren’t important, it’s just that Jesus knew that self-preservation would come naturally for us. Don’t believe me? Well, we do often avoid uncomfortable situations because we don’t want to threaten our status quo. We desire pleasure and instant gratification, over painful processes created to perfect us. We naturally love ourselves, though not always in the healthiest way.
One of the best ways to love ourselves is to put God and others before us. Instead of focusing on why others may not welcome you, consider that there may be someone standing on the sidelines behind you. This shifts your focus from seeing all the so-called reasons you’re not good enough to recognizing that God’s glory as seen through the girl you just welcomed, shines through you as well. The less you focus on yourself, the more you see Christ. The more you see Christ, the more you see your true self.
What should you do if you struggle with self worth?
Love on Your Neighbor
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.
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Turn to 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 Truth over Your Life
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. However, I could spend hours sitting with you trying to convince you of the worth he deposited in you, but if you don’t believe it for yourself, my words won’t really matter. Consider which one of the above steps you need to take to recognize your worth in Christ and begin the process. Of course, it will take some time but by God’s grace, you can do it.