Self-worth is the Internal Sense of Being Good Enough

Knowing your worth in God is so important as a believer in Jesus Christ. We’ve touched on it before, but it always warrants revisiting. I think we all struggle with self-worth on and off throughout our lives. When I was younger, I was encouraged by a friend that once I got into my 40s, I would no longer struggle with what other people thought of me – wrong. Then came my 50s – yes easier, but on occasion, I could still let someone’s thoughtless comment sink me. Now in my early 60s, it’s much easier but I also tend to stay away from people! Ha!

First, the definition

Self-worth is the internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others. Self-worth is often confused with self-esteem, which relies on external factors such as successes and achievements to define value.

The catch here is that first definition, “…internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others.” From others, do you hear that? I almost always fall back on the fact that we live in a fallen world. By nature, we as earthly beings can be harsh critics of each other. We can even feel better about ourselves if we judge others.

Although I believe self-esteem is important, I have found self-worth to be vital.

The Psychology of Self-Worth

Self-worth is at the core of our very selves—our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are intimately tied to how we view our worthiness and value as human beings.

Self-worth is determined mostly by our self-evaluated abilities and our performance in one or more activities that we deem valuable. However, people commonly use other yardsticks to measure their self-worth, such as appearance, net worth, social circle, career, achievement.

Author Stephanie Jade Wong is on a mission to correct misunderstandings and misperceptions about self-worth. Instead of listing all the factors that go into self-worth, she outlines what does not determine your self-worth:

  • “Your to-do list: Achieving goals is great and it feels wonderful to cross off things on your to-do list, but it doesn’t have a direct relationship with your worth as a human;
  • Your job: It doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is that you do it well and that it fulfills you;
  • Your social media following: It doesn’t matter how many people think you are worthy of a follow or a retweet. Although interesting to consider the perspectives of others, their opinions have no impact on our innate value;
  • Your age: You aren’t too young or too old for anything. Your age is simply a number and does not factor into your value as a human being;
  • Other people: Your personal satisfaction and fulfillment are much more important than what others are thinking, saying, or doing;
  • How far you can run: If you enjoy running and feel fulfilled by improving your time, good for you! If not, good for you!
  • The number of friends you have: Your value as a human has absolutely nothing to do with how many connections, it’s the quality of those relationships;
  • Your relationship status: Whether flying solo, casually dating, or in a committed relationship, your value is exactly the same—your relationship status doesn’t alter your worth;
  • The money in the bank: If you have enough money to physically survive then you have already succeeded.
  • Anything or anyone but yourself: Here we get to the heart of the matter—you are the only one who determines your self-worth. If you believe you are worthy and valuable, you are worthy and valuable. Even if you don’t believe you are worthy and valuable, guess what—you still are worthy and valuable!”

Pro Tip: Work on identifying, challenging, and externalizing your critical inner voice. We all have an inner critic that loves to nitpick and point out our flaws. [Note: we’re using he/him but feel free to swap with she/her]. It’s natural to let this inner critic get the best of us sometimes, but if we let him win too often he starts to think that he’s right!

Whenever you notice your inner critic start to fire up with the criticisms, make him pause for a moment. Ask yourself whether he has any basis in fact, whether he’s being kind or not, and whether what he’s telling you is something you need to know. If none of those things are true, feel free to tell him to see himself out!

The Importance of Self-Worth in Relationships

One of the most common mistakes you see people with low self-esteem make is to base their self-worth on one aspect of their lives—and often, that aspect is a relationship.

It’s an understandable tendency to let someone else’s love for you encourage you to feel better about yourself. However, you should work on feeling good about yourself whether you are in a relationship or not.

The love of another person does not define you, nor does it define your value as a person. Whether you are single, casually dating, building a solid relationship with someone, or celebrating your 30th wedding anniversary with your spouse, you are worthy of love and respect, and you should make time to practice self-acceptance and self-compassion.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your partner’s love is what makes you worthy of love. One of the biggest mistakes we see is thinking that your spouse is what gives you worth and a lack of a significant other lessens your value.

Another Pro-Tip: Having a healthy sense of self-worth will actually improve your current relationship and increase your attractiveness to others.

When you learn to love yourself, you become better able to love someone else. People with high self-respect tend to have more satisfying, loving, and stable relationships than those who do not, precisely because they know that they need to first find their worth, esteem, and happiness within themselves.

Two people who are lit with self-worth and happiness from within are much brighter than two people who are trying to absorb light from each other.

Bottom Line – what does God say about our self-worth?

God actually has a lot to say about our self-worth! We need to know that God loves “me for me”. Not for what we can do for Him, or how good we behave, but just us as we are, flaws and all. When it’s hard for us to love ourselves, we need to know that there is a God who loves us and finds us worthy just as we are.

The main thing to understand is our worth in God’s eyes is always the same, we are a child of God and priceless to Him. It’s that simple. Consider this: Jesus’ worth is fixed, meaning it doesn’t change or diminish based on the opinions of others. In the Bible, and still today, not everyone views Jesus as valuable, yet Jesus’ worth never changes. This is important to understand.

So, what is Jesus’ worth? In a word, everything. Jesus tells us that following Him is worth it all.

Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

Jesus knows that He is worth everything, even your life. Whatever you can give Him, whatever you can do for Him, Jesus knows that He is worth it.

John 3:16 tells us to believe in Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is worth it. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus knows He is worth whatever it costs you to follow Him. We see in the Bible that is Jesus is so secure in who He is, that even when the enemy attacks His sense of self-worth (Matthew 4), it carried no weight because Jesus knew exactly who He was.

What’s important to note here is the reason Jesus knew His self-worth was because Jesus knew His true identity. Jesus’ self-worth wasn’t based on the opinions of others but was instead based on His identity as the Son of God.

… and You? What Is My Worth to God?

Jesus knows that He is worth it all, but what’s crazy is the Bible tells us that we are worth it all to Him. The reason we know we are worthy to God is because our salvation came at a cost. That means there was a price tag attached to our salvation and Jesus decided that you were worth it. You. You are so valuable to God that you are worth the premium price tag that it cost Jesus to ransom you from your sins.

John 10:18 Jesus says: “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

So, what is your worth to God? Your worth is Jesus’ own life. Just like Jesus’ worth is fixed and doesn’t change depending on the opinion of others, your worth is also fixed. Meaning, your worth never changes to God.

Your worth is rooted in something much deeper than someone’s opinion of you, your worth is rooted in the unwavering opinion of God.

When you base your identity in Christ and not on the opinions of others, your sense of self-worth can never truly be shaken because it was never rooted in the things of this world anyways.

Your sense of self-worth is instead rooted in something much deeper, in God’s opinion of you.

So, if you’re still asking yourself the question, “What is my worth to God?” You can answer with this:

You are God’s masterpiece whose life matters because you are valuable, worthy, and precious to Him. Stand strong in knowing that you are, and always have been, fully known and fully loved by an all-loving God.

For God and You,

Deb Bostwick
Guest Blogger