According to Merriam-Webster the term self-worth means:
Self-esteem; A feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.
When you see yourself as worthy of respect, it gives you confidence to take responsibility for your life, face the ups and downs and make the right choices regardless of what anyone else thinks or says. Merriam-Webster defines confidence as:
A feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances, for example s/he had perfect confidence in his/ her ability to succeed.
Self-worth, self-concept and confidence are universal issues that pervade every nationality. These topics are high on the UNs agenda of women’s issues and empowerment strategies. People will never be able to function at their highest level of potential until the foundation is rightly laid. As I said before, identity is the bedrock of your success because once you know who you are, your confidence level rises and that enables you to start living your life with purpose.
Low self-esteem is such a dire issue that a confident person sometimes has to play themselves down, not necessarily to fit in, but so others around them won’t feel uncomfortable. While this may look like a noble gesture, it is more harmful than good. One, the confident person is not being their authentic self, and two, it does nothing to change the state of the insecure ones.
When you step out in faith to walk on your destined path, you will face opposition and your identity will be challenged. You will be belittled, ridiculed and ostracized. You must be able to stand without wavering or allowing anything or anyone to pull you away from what God has laid on your heart to do. Even if no one else tells you, you must know that you are important and valuable. You must believe in yourself even when no one else believes in you.
I love Sci/Fi-Fantasy series like Star Trek and Star Wars. Over the weekend I was watching episodes of the old sci/fi show Babylon 5. Not to bore you with the details, but Babylon 5 is a fantastical futuristic outpost where humans and aliens live together in an attempt to foster peace among alien and human races. Even though these series are based on fantasy, the writers and creators deal with real issues when writing the episodes. The one episode that stood out for me was when one of the alien ambassadors was being tested to see if she was ready to participate in an upcoming war with a deadly enemy.
Her inquisitor belittled her, called her a fool, inflicted unbearable physical pain on her and commanded her to let go of the idea that she was following her calling and conform to what everyone else was doing. In the midst of her pain she stood up to her inquisitor and told him to take his best shot because she wasn’t afraid of him. She said to him, “You aspired to your own dreams and failed because you weren’t strong enough, or felt worthy enough. So you take pleasure in causing pain to those who dare to step out and follow their own dreams. You lash out at them because it reminds you of your own failures. Because of that you are determined to prove that they are as flawed as you.” [Paraphrase].
That angered her antagonist and he increased the level of pain that he was inflicting on her. Through it all she held her ground. She did not allow him to dissuade her from her path, neither did she allow him to break her confidence. In the end the antagonist admitted that she was right about him. He set out on his own path many years before and failed. Fulfilling purpose is not for the faint of heart and that’s why it’s necessary to know who you are and have a healthy self-concept.
King David said in Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and that my soul knows very well.” He had a healthy self-image because he connected his self-worth with his creator. David, a flawed man, did not look to compare himself with another flawed human being. Instead, he aligned his self-worth with the One who is perfect. Placing your confidence in God, who is so solid, will build your confidence. In the New Living Translation that verse reads:
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous – how well I know it.
Never sell yourself short and don’t dumb down to fit in. Not everyone is meant to be your friend, or be in your circle, so stop trying to fit in where you’re not appreciated. Learn to love yourself. When you learn to love yourself you will attract the right people to you. There are only two animals that God uses to describe himself; eagles and lions. Eagles flock with other eagles and lions run with their own kind. As the old saying goes, birds of a feather, flock together.
In Luke 12:6 and 24, Jesus talks about how much God cares for the sparrows and the ravens. He doesn’t forget any of them. He loves the sparrows as much as he loves the eagles, but eagles fly at a different altitude. It is said that eagles can fly up to ten thousand feet in the air. At that altitude the only birds they will come in contact with are other eagles. As Myles Munro puts it, “if you are attracting a lot of birds, you’re flying too low. Fly higher.”
Remember that until you learn to love yourself, you cannot love anyone else. So start learning how to love you, and develop a healthy self-image so that you can soar as the eagle you are into your destiny.