How to Love Yourself and See Your True Worth
Who tells you what you’re worth?
In 2019, my goal was this:
By the end of the year, I will finally BELIEVE that I AM ENOUGH!
For almost ALL of my life, I have struggled with believing I was enough just as I was.
As I looked back on the decades past, I couldn’t remember a time in my life when I felt like I was enough. Going through trauma and abuse had led to a belief system that I just wasn’t good enough.
I believed that I had to BE a certain someone to be good enough, so I tried to do what I could to become that person.
I was trapped in a cycle of thinking I would only be worthwhile if I did certain things:
-Showed up well in every situation (well = happy, fun, positive, etc)
-had a certain look (look = attractive, the right clothing, somewhat distant and aloof to make myself a ‘challenge’)
-Always had something to offer others mentally or emotionally (something = support, a sounding board, didn’t make anything about me EVER, didn’t think about my needs — only theirs, etc)
I even created criteria that made me feel I was enough.
For example, I would lie down at night and think about my day. I would add up all the things that happened — the interactions, the situations and how I showed up. I would gauge whether I was enough that day by my performance.
My checklist for being ‘enough’ went something like this:
I looked good
I smiled a lot
I started conversations with people and made them feel good
I didn’t annoy anyone (or so I felt and hoped)
I showed up well
I gave more than I took (or so I thought)
I wasn’t a burden on anyone
I was nice
People showed they liked me
I was included in conversations
I didn’t give anyone a reason NOT to like me
I didn’t get angry at the person who cut me off (or anyone, ever)
I was with that group of girls and fit in with my looks, attitude and confidence (confidence portrayed not real)
And so much more!
All of these things made me feel that I WAS ENOUGH.
If I could just show up in the RIGHT WAY at the RIGHT TIME and contribute to society in A VALUABLE WAY then I was worthy of love and acceptance.
I put a HUGE amount of pressure on myself, but that was the only way I thought I could be good enough to fit in this world.
I spent years on Facebook portraying an image I wanted others to see. I posted the ONE family picture that turned out perfectly (not the 30–40 outtakes). I snapped selfies and applied filter after filter until I looked ‘perfect.’ I presented all this to the world and showed them exactly who I was.
Except I wasn’t that person.
It was just a facade.
I presented the person I wanted to be to the world. I felt that was the person other people wanted to see. I felt that was the woman who would be loved, accepted, respected and someone worthy enough to be in their life.
I desperately wanted to put my head on the pillow at night and believe that I had checked all the boxes and that I was in fact ‘enough.’ If I went through my day and didn’t believe I was worthy and loved I would cry, think about what I could’ve done differently and resolve to do better the next day.
I would even send out messages to people who I thought I might have offended the day before and make sure they weren’t upset with me (they never were — it was all in my head).
The saddest part is that I was never actually being ME — I was a manufactured version of me and I was extremely inauthentic. I was showing everyone my highlight reel and none of the outtakes.
I would show a smiling face and a ‘put together’ outfit and believed that people wouldn’t see through my mask.
THE TRUTH: I was covering up A LOT of shame and insecurity.
And because I was not being authentic with who I was, it affected my relationship with myself as well as others. If I couldn’t be me with anyone, I certainly couldn’t be truly authentic and vulnerable with God either.
But when I thought about surrendering to who I was and really letting people in, I was TERRIFIED.
I became so stressed, wondering:
What will people think of me if they know who I really am?
What will people say if I stand on my truth and share my beliefs?
What if they laugh at me?
What if they talk about me behind my back?
What if nobody likes me?
What if I’m really not enough?
But last year I challenged myself to be enough NO MATTER WHAT.
I challenged myself to see me the way GOD SEES ME.
As I changed my perspective over those 365 days, amazing things happened!
First of all, I stopped looking to the world to tell me who I was and I began looking to God.
I focused on biblical truths that talked about who I was in God’s eyes and I started to build a firm foundation underneath me.
I read scriptures (like the following) and, in turn, I came to conclusions about who I was in Christ:
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. ~Jeremiah 31:3
Therefore I am LOVED!
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ~1 Corinthians 6:11
Therefore I am sanctified and washed clean!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.~1 Peter 2:9
Therefore I am chosen and set apart!
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. ~2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore I am Christ’s ambassador!
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. -John 15:4
Therefore He abides in me and I in Him!
For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. ~1 Corinthians 3:9
Therefore I am a co-worker with Christ!
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.~2 Corinthians 2:15
Therefore I am pleasing to Him!
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. ~Deuteronomy 31:8
Therefore He is always with me and I am never alone!
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~Ephesians 2:10
Therefore I am a masterpiece!
Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. ~2 Corinthians 3:12
Therefore I am bold and confident!
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.~Psalm 139:14
Therefore I am wonderfully made!
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. ~1 John 3:1
Therefore I am a child of God.
And there are so many more!
As time went by, I finally started to believe what He said about me.
As I began to build this Firm Foundation under me, I also worked on discovering my worth in Him.
Most of my life I had found my worth in what other people thought of me. If people liked me, I was doing well; if they didn’t, something was wrong with me.
Last year on my journey to believing I was enough, I began to look to God for my worth. I didn’t realize it at first, but loving myself was just as important to God as loving Him and loving others.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on the following scripture:
Jesus said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ~Matthew 22:37–38
What began to stand out to me was ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’ I started to think about how I was loving other people. By looking to THEM to feed me, fill my bucket, make me feel good, accept me, etc, I was not loving them properly.
My love for them came from a need, not from a pure type of agape love (the type of love where you give and expect nothing in return). Instead, I was holding people hostage to my feelings and thoughts. I only wanted people in my life who thought I was amazing and fed me accolades and encouragement. I pushed away people who didn’t agree with me or who I was afraid might think something negative about me. I wasn’t even sure if they were thinking something negative about me, but just the perception that they might be created distance in me. I didn’t want anyone to see what was behind my mask.
I felt that if they knew all of my insecurities, shame and struggles I would be opening myself up to ridicule and rejection.
But that verse in Matthew 22 really spoke to me. The first two Commandments — love God and love people …but in the midst of all that it was important that I also loved myself.
If I was going to truly love myself, I had to stop looking to other people to give me what only God could give me. I knew I had holes inside me that I was looking for other people to fill so instead of looking to others last year, I began looking to God.
I would often imagine the holes inside me being filled with His light. When I allowed his grace, mercy and love to fill me, I didn’t need the world to fill my bucket.
Amazingly, as I began to love myself more, I got SO MUCH BETTER at loving other people. I could hold on to them loosely, not tightly. I didn’t grab onto them like a life preserver to keep me from drowning anymore. I could actually love them without needing anything from them. I could be in situations and show up as the authentic me, not worrying about what others thought of me or what they gave back.
That’s when I really started coming out of my shell, I stopped worrying about being popular or about doing and saying the right thing and began focussing on what God desired for and from me. I focused on who He said I was and that I was perfect in His eyes.
One of my favourite Psalms says:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you.” ~Psalm 139:13–18
I started believing that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, that His works are wonderful and that I am one of them. I began imagining how God wove me together and how He knew exactly who I was going to be before I was born. I realized that in His eyes I was amazing just as I was and all I had to do was accept it and believe it.
I also focused on this scripture “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” ~Ephesians 2:8–9
So in order to be saved, close to God and living in His will, I didn’t need to do anything — I just needed to accept His gifts of love and grace, believe that He created me in His image and that I was wonderful just the way I was.
As I shifted my perspective, I began living in His will for my life as much as possible. I spent time in His word looking at the decisions I made and the things that I chose to do, cross referencing them with the Bible to ensure that I was on the right track.
It wasn’t a perfect system, but everyday I focussed on being a little bit better than the day before — a little closer to God, a little less focused on the world.
I concentrated on believing that I was who He said I was!
One song that really spoke to me during that time was “I Am Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong. Some of the lyrics go like this: “Who the son sets free, oh is free indeed! I’m a Child of God yes I am!”
Admittedly, I listened to the song on repeat. I kept focussing on how I was a child of God.
Words are so powerful!
Proverbs provides so much wisdom on the power of words:
Proverbs 15:4 says “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 16:24 says “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Proverbs 18:4 says “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”
A friend of mine knew the power of words and gifted me this bracelet engraved with I AM ENOUGH.
I wore it every day to remind me that I was worthy of love and acceptance and because words are powerful, I made sure that I had those words handy for the times when I needed them most. The combination of all of this seemed to change something in me over the last 365 days.
Now it’s 2020 and my word of the year is INSIGHT. I chose that word because I now believe I’m enough and I’m ready to move on to see the bigger picture even more. I desire to see more of God’s amazing plan by looking at the world through spiritual eyes. I want to see more of Him and His will, instead of my myopic view of life. To me, insight means stepping back and looking at the bigger picture and how everything might work together for good. I also want to practice greater discernment around what is of God and what is not.
I’m so thankful that I know who I am now and have built a firm foundation underneath me that is made of rock, not of sand. Now I am ready to step into the next chapter of my life.
I’m not sure where you’re at today — if you are someone who struggles with believing you’re worthy and enough. If so, I pray that you believe it. Just in case you need a reminder of the steps you can take to really believe you are worthy and loved, read on :).
How to LOVE YOURSELF and see your TRUE WORTH:
1. Be real about where you’re at
Ponder these questions:
Has the enemy been speaking into your life too much?
Are you showing up authentically or hiding?
How open are you to change?
2. Begin to get your mindset out of the world’s assessment of you and into God’s opinion of you
Give your belief system about yourself to God and ask Him to help you hold your thoughts captive and change your mindset.
Focus on these scriptures:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~Romans 12:2
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~2 Corinthinans 10:5
3. Go to the Bible
Read what God says about you and learn to find your identity in Him.
Download the FREE PDF I made for you, which has 6 powerful verses to remind you that you’re enough.
Notice how worthy you are in His eyes and meditate on scriptures that remind you of this.
4. Create a Playlist
Find powerful song with lyrics that build you up.
When you listen to music that tells you who you are in Christ you will be ingesting words into your soul (and words are POWERFUL).
*Message me if you want some song suggestions
5. Connect to a Community
We are all struggling in some way, so it’s important to choose a group of people to surround yourself with who will come alongside you (and you them).
Be around people who will hold you accountable to who you are in Christ (these people can help dispel who the enemy tries to say you are).
A quote I love by Beth Moore is this: “Be authentic with all, transparent with most and intimate with some.” (Therefore always choose authenticity, but save your deeper struggles for certain people who you know are wise, God-focused and want the best for you).
We are all enough and worthy in God’s eyes. We are worthy of His love and He asks us to love Him first and then love others as we love ourselves. This equation is not complete if we do not LOVE OURSELVES.
At the end of the day we can’t give what we don’t have — when we love ourselves we can freely give that love away.
I think this is God’s perfect design!
Do you ever wonder if you are enough? I promise YOU ARE! God created you to be enough. He created you in HIS image. You are chosen and nothing can separate you from HIS love. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and when you feel weak, He is strong! Download my FREE “I Am Enough” booklet HERE to remind you with scripture that YOU ARE ENOUGH. I hope and pray you can rest in that truth today! Sending love and blessings your way 🙂
Alana Palm is the founder of Wake Up Joyful, a ministry dedicated to helping those who are struggling to transform their mindset through biblical teachings & personal development so they can live with more joy, confidence & courage. For daily encouragement, follow her on IG.