"Man is so much more sensitive to the contempt of others than to contempt for himself." --Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
With great purpose we were created. Individuals, uniquely talented and beautifully made. However, with every rejection, trauma, unmet expectation, incorrect assumption or perception, human beings weigh who God created them to be with their own interpretation of their value and worth. I suggest there is not a person alive that does not struggle to some degree with self-esteem, worth, or acceptance. But sometimes our perspective takes a nose dive and our lack of confidence becomes much more then "will I fit in". It becomes self-contempt.
Contempt for yourself usually means believing there is something wrong with you. That when bad things happen in your life it's because somehow you deserved it. If things don't work out in relationships it's because you did something wrong. It's your fault. Contempt of self convinces you that you don't deserve better. You may take what you can get, allow yourself to be mis-treated and mis-used. At the very least, you won't stand up for yourself or make healthy boundaries.
Believing that you are worthless is actually about pride. Pride is the "cultivation, preservation or exalting of self" (Webster's dictionary). Pride can be in thinking too much of yourself or thinking too little of yourself, self-protection, and a building up (or tearing down) of ourselves in our own eyes or in the eyes of others.
Do you dismiss other's praise? Do you reject compliments? Do you believe the worst about yourself?
Contempt can mask itself as humility. To many, humility is a virtue. But somewhere between modesty and meekness, caring for others and putting others needs first, we have decided we are not important...period. We see the value in others, but not in ourselves. We give others the benefit of the doubt. We believe others deserve happiness, but we don't. We convince ourselves that we have nothing to offer, so we offer nothing.
Humility is knowing that we need help. That we cannot succeed in this life apart from God. Humility is understanding our weakness. It's knowing that even though we are sinful and we don't deserve God's love for us, that we are in fact loved and forgiven because of Christ. But humility is also believing that God can use even me; that He sees my value and wants to have a relationship with me.
I know a lot of kind, beautiful, amazing women who cannot see their value. Women who settle. Women who have dreams, hopes, and desires, but won't voice them because they don't think they are important. If only they could see themselves the way God and others see them.
Believe the One who made you.
Believe that you are loved and valued by Him.
Believe that He wants what is best for you.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Luke 12:6-7)