A foggy morning view of trees and a bend in the background, symbolic of how we sometimes feel when we are not understanding our worth


Anyone who’s read my words for very long knows I grew up feeling less-than. In elementary school, I was bullied and spit upon. I was made to feel like I had no worth. Funny thing is, when a girl hears that message proclaimed over and over, she begins to believe it. We lose our capacity for understanding our worth.

A small hand holding onto a roped fence, symbolic of how sometimes we look at what we think will give us worth, but we can't get to it

I tried to earn approval. Tried to dress the right way. Talk the right way. And to my shame, I even treated other ostracized girls with disdain. All in an effort to gain worth with those stupid popular girls who seemed to have the power to give or withhold acceptance. 

Rejection scarred me into adulthood. I believed I wasn’t really worthy. But that craving to find a way to feel worthy in others’ eyes defined my interactions well into my forties. I tried to say things just right, so as not to offend. And then, if I shared my true feelings about something, or if I spoke words that could, maybe, be construed as unkind, I always went back and apologized. 

All because I didn’t understand my worth.

A woman standing among rocks as waves crash nearby

What happens when we don’t understand our worth

When we don’t understand our worth, we do and say things that hollow us out. We view ourselves through an inaccurate lens. And, if you’re like me, we withhold ourselves from intimate connection with others because we don’t want them to find out that really, under what we show them, is someone who’s not really worth getting to know. 

A one silhouette of a man looking out at the ocean at sunset

When we don’t understand our worth, we won’t engage fully in life and in relationships. Loving well proves impossible because we worry about whether or not we’ll blow it in front of someone. We worry about what others think. Our focus is on trying hard to please them by how we act. 

When we don’t feel worthy to accept love from others, we are unable to love others deeply.

A meme that says, "When we don't feel worth to accept love from others, we are unable to love others deeply." on a picture of a lone white, rain-dropped bloom on a tree

Again, attempting to please others at the expense of being authentically us carves out holes in our hearts. And those holes can’t be filled by any amount of approval from people. 

Attempting to please others at the expense of being authentically us carves out holes in our hearts @JeanneTakenaka #tellhisstory #understandingourworth Click To Tweet

Truths to Help Us in Understanding Our Worth:

  • People-pleasing is a useless endeavor. We humans are fickle creatures. When we seek approval from others, we give them the power to crown us with favor or with shame. Instead, we need to seek to please the One who created us, the One who knows us best: Our heavenly Father.
  • Our worth doesn’t come from how others, or even we ourselves, think of us. I spent decades struggling with the feeling of being less-than. When I felt rejected by someone (and it happened a lot in high school and into my twenties), I was devastated. That rejection fed the lie that I really was less-than. I couldn’t figure out how some of my friends seemed comfortable in their own skins while I was itching and trying to reshape mine to fit in. We can’t determine our own worth because we don’t see ourselves with an accurate perspective.
  • When we comprehend God’s love for us, we begin understanding our worth. Life does its best to beat us down. But when we understand that God loves us, even when we mess up, make horrible choices, compromise our beliefs, or even turn away from Him for a time, it can change how we view ourselves. 
  • God views us as his precious children. Nothing we can do or say will change His vast love for us. He loves us perfectly, passionately, and completely. God loves us this way because He has defined our worth as invaluable. We’re worth loving. 
  • Grasping the truth that we are enough simply because Jesus declares it transforms our understanding of our worth.
A couple of birds perched on a branch facing opposite directions, a reminder that people won't help us understand our worth

Why Understanding Our Worth Makes a Difference

When we understand our worth, we become capable of loving others well. When we grasp how very much we are loved, we grow in our capacity to extend love to others well. To look beyond the ways they hurt us and to see them through our Father’s eyes.  

A small yellow flower peeks out from between a crack in a rock, lonely but thriving, reminder that when we understand our worth, we can thrive anywhere

God has done a lot of healing in my heart and thoughts. As I struggled to understand my significance to others, God reminded me that I am significant to Him. And that is enough. As I began to live into this truth, I started to see how being enough because of being God’s girl makes me enough. 

I’m not less-than. 

I am loved. 

And I want to love others in that same way.

What about you? How do you define your worth? How does your perception of your worth affect the way you love others

This week, I’m linking up with Grace and TruthAnita Ojeda, #Instaencouragements, and sometimes Let’s Have Coffee. Come join and read more encouraging posts!

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