I find it a difficult topic to address because it comes laden with so much cultural baggage. I tend to use other phrases – like identity or acceptance, because it’s easier than having to take on the raft of associations (both positive and negative) that surround it.
I think it’s vital that we see the enormous worth that Jesus gives us – independent of what we look like or how we perform. Many women’s magazines for example, talk about the importance of loving ourselves, but then base it on achievement or a nebulous self-acceptance that varies along with our dress size and blood sugar. If my worth is something that others give or that I can achieve, it means I’m only as good as my most recent performance or at the mercy of other people. If however, it comes from the Lord of the universe – this frees me to stop looking at myself and to genuinely live in freedom and to love others. Our worth isn’t self-determined; but rather than being a cause for sadness, this is tremendously liberating – it’s unshakeable and irrefutable, grounded in Christ and not youth or job or family or anything else. I find myself not as the final goal, but a side-effect of seeing Him.