What do we use as the standard for worth and lovability? Popularity? Skill level? Beauty? Money? Success? Or is it something else--something that has little to do with what you are or do? Is there something inherent in us that has value? Or does value have to be infused in us from an outside source?
Persons who are confused about their value or who misperceive their value have a difficult time experiencing joy and peace. Yet another cause or contributor to depression and anxiety.
I loathe the term "self esteem". In its place, I use self worth. Here are some threats to one's sense of self worth:
- Focus on personal qualities rather than inherent value
- Focus on looks
- Focus on ability
- Focus on money
- Focus on status
- Focus on achievement or success
- A reliance on others for view of self (e.g., friends, family, co-workers, the public)
- Allowing hurtful or ignorant people to be authorities or arbiters of your value
If one has to possess certain traits or abilities or things in order to have real value or be lovable, then life becomes a neverending treadmill of working for worthiness. This cannot bring real peace or joy, no matter how talented or wealthy or beauty one possesses.
Equally fleeting is putting ones value or worth in the hands of other people. People are fickle and sometimes self-serving--even downright evil sometimes. Why would one trust deeply flawed human being for their ultimate sense of value and worth? That's pretty scary for many.
Rather, when a person recognizes that his or her value comes from the Almighty--the only perfectly loving Creator who made each human being in His image. In that way, He infused each person with a value that is infinite, a worth that is hardly communicable, and a lovability that endures. Those who put their reliance on that as their worth--and remain conscious of it--can rest.