Summary: Most of us develop a sense of self-worth based on our ability to meet personal standards, which we have generated from our perception of social, cultural, and peer standards. As a result, our self-worth is generated by worldly values not God's.
The Self-Worth Struggle
Introduction … source of our self-worth
Self-worth, often referred to as self-esteem, is considered to be indicative of a person's basic mental evaluation of their value or worth. In developing self-worth a person judges their ability to meet personal standards, which they themselves have generated from their perception of social, cultural, and peer standards. In doing this we generally base our value system on our interpretation of peer behavior and by listening to feedback we receive from those around us. As a result, the source of our sense of self-worth is frequently taken from the world … we become a product of the world we live in.
Our initial establishment of standards, and our formative development of a sense of self-worth, is highly influence by those closest to us. If we are born into a family of jocks there is a good chance we will initially set athletic standards. If we are born into a family of outlaws there is a very good probability we will adopt standards that rebel against the social norm. There is also the fact that some people foolishly try to identify with celebrities or social conventions. This is not a condemnation of celebrities, but our immolating them can result in our setting performance expectations that are absolutely wrong for us. In fact we can actually fail to recognize who we really are, resulting in our fabricating an alien persona based on what we think the world and others expect us to be.
The more dependent we are on the opinions of other people the greater the probability our world-fabricated standards will not bring us true peace and happiness. Consider all the people who have achieved great success but still committed suicide.
Marilyn Monroe (1926–1962) Marilyn came from an orphanage to become the most beloved movie star of her time. She had money, beauty, and fame. Yet, she killed herself at the age of 36.
Alan Ladd (I) (1913–1964) Ladd was a famous actor with a tremendous line of successful films. He was powerful, wealthy, and loved by everyone, and then at the age of 50 he killed himself.
Lucy Gordon (I) (1980–2009) Lucy became a face of CoverGirl in 1997, and then began an acting career. She appeared in The Four Feathers (2002), Spider-Man 3, and A Heroic Life (2010). She had a future that many dream of; but, she killed herself at 28.
Robin Williams (I) (1951–2014) Came from a good upper middle-class home and achieve astronomical success as an award winning actor and comedian; at age 63 he committed suicide.
Most assuredly these examples are extreme cases of a screwed up self-esteem; but, they do demonstrate how important it is to understand what influences our formation of self-worth. We have all seen the individual that, if we could buy them for what they really are worth and sell them for what they think they are worth, we could make a fortune selling them. On the other hand, there are people who have great potential but never achieve success because their sense of self-worth is beaten down by the influence of other people. The point is, if our self-worth is highly influence by social standards, or by our perception of what others think of us, we have allowed the world to control who we are. Most assuredly, there are social standards we need to take into consideration; just as there are other people whose opinions are important. But more important, we must be aware of the fact that the human psyche has a distinct preference for positive feedback: even when it is inaccurate. When we primarily base our self-worth on poor or inaccurate positive-feedback it can lead us into the situation where we are not who we should be. So you see, it is imperative that we know and fully understand the root source of our sense of self-worth … the best source is the word of God.
1. The Struggle
It is a very simple minded person, or one who is supremely arrogant, that ignores or denies the existence of forces, which influence their self-worth. Let’s face it; almost all of us are sensitive to other people’s opinion about us. We want to be loved by those we love; we want to be appreciated by those we labor for; we want to be respected by our peers; and we want to be honored by those we sacrifice for. When we are loved our ability to love is strengthened; when we are appreciated we take confidence in the quality of our labor; when we are respected we feel like we are a part of the team; and when we are honored our self-esteem is lifted. So you see, whether we want to admit it or not, most of us develop a sense of self-worth based on the reactions of the world around us.