I’ve pondered this question for several days now… does your worth depend on the house you live in, or the car you drive, or the gifts that are given to you? Do you think others think you’re worth more if you eat in fancy restaurants, wear expensive clothes, or go to expensive shows? Do you feel you’re worth more if you look and dress like a model and have all the latest, trendy clothes?
Is self-worth the same as self-esteem?
I know my family is not perfect [whose is?] but my parents [and extended family] surely must have done something right – because while there may be times when I don’t have the self-confidence to do something, there’s never been a time when I felt I was of no worth. This past week has been filled with gatherings of friends, family, and friends with their families – such a joyful time that I often forgot to take photos [can you even believe THAT?!? – I’m hoping I can grab some from others who were there.] And we’ve loved Every. Moment. Of. It.
Still, my heart is sad because I’ve watched others and I have seen how they define the measurement of self-worth. And, it’s so very different from mine. - Not that I see success or enjoyment of the finer things in life as wrong or bad, I just have never measured my self-worth, or the worth of others, with those things. [Those who know me, know that I enjoy life.] Character and integrity cannot be measured by the car a person drives or the clothes they wear…
Never, in my entire 50 years [I’m embracing this, can’t you see?] have I thought that my self-worth depended on what others gifted to me, or what kind of car I drive [that’s pretty obvious to most, don’tcha think?] or whether or not I am model thin [no comments on my weight issues…] And so I wonder – since I have always felt loved, do I take for granted this feeling of being loved and accepted? The love from my family has never depended on what I do [whether it’s chores around the house, making good grades in school, or making wise life decisions]. Instead, my family has always shown an unconditional kind of love – and loved me because I’m here, a part of their lives – not because of things I might do for them. I was raised to believe we should live with integrity and that our character is what defines us. And as I’ve pondered these thoughts this past week I’ve come to realize that THIS really is a gift that I’ve taken for granted.
Let me step aside a moment and say – thank you family, both nuclear and extended – thank you, for letting this chubby freckled faced kid grow up in an atmosphere of love and acceptance of who I am. Thank you for showing me – through words and actions- what character and integrity really means. Thank you –
While I know that there are families who don’t know how to love [I’m a social worker in protective services, afterall] I’ve made the mistake of assuming [once again] that those with similar backgrounds might have identical backgrounds [and morals and values and love] – And yet, I know without a doubt that only the people who live in a house know what really goes in on in that home, so I’m perplexed that I’m so surprised by this. And still it saddens me to know that there are people in my life [no matter how extended they might be] who feel such little self-worth that the decisions they make are based on what others might think of them. And, oh, how I hope my boys know that They. Are. Loved. Unconditionally – regardless of decisions and choices they make – they are loved.
I’m thinking: buy the car, eat in the fancy restaurant, give good gifts, get healthy, wear nice clothes, whatever – because it’s WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE – not to impress others. And I wonder, how have I lived my entire life with no thoughts of impressing others? Especially when, apparently, there are so many, many other people around me who live their life [and make choices] based on that very reason. And yet, I feel loved.
In my ponderings of the week – I’ve come back to one question over and over again – where does this unconditional love come from? And so many of you know the answer already – it comes from God – and our Lord and Savior who came to earth to live as a man and to die [so willingly] on the cross to save us from our sins. I became a Christian at the young age of seven – made the decision to proclaim my belief that Jesus was the Son of God and that belief in Him was the one and only way to return to God after our life here on earth. And because of this, I believe, that even through the bad times of my life, I KNEW that my God loved me – with a love that we, as humans, can only begin to fathom. So I guess THAT LOVE is really what has made me the person I am today – His approval is all that matters to me. And that approval doesn’t depend on cars, or gifts, or clothes, or looks – we’re all beautiful to the One who made us.
What did my family do right? They led me to see that God loves me and wants me to follow Him and accept the love He has to give. They helped me to see that striving to be like Jesus helps me live a life of character. And so, my prayer for you, my friends and family, as we go into this New Year, is that you will seek out love [and approval] from the One who loves. I hope you will go to Him and feel the joy of sitting in His presence. The joy of complete [and unconditional] acceptance. He will never force us to Him. But He’s there waiting…
Happy New Year –
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