Why Worth Is at The Center of Mental Health

Why Worth Is at The Center of Mental Health

Mental health has become so much a part of our culture’s narrative these days. As single parents, we are very acquainted with feeling traumatized, scattered, or overwhelmed at times. So, when we think about mental health, often times, we can be in a hurry to try and fix the condition. But often, the core issue is deeper than the condition. 

The truth is, we’ve spent most of our lives abandoning self to stay connected. Meeting other’s expectations and we don’t speak up for our wants and needs. If we look back, we notice that we’ve spent a lot of our lives performing, playing roles, and becoming out of touch with our own true selves. When we don’t have a good relationship with ourselves and our worth, it can lead to all kinds of mental issues like depression, codependency, anxiety—because we’ve lost the true understanding of who we really are. 

So today, we’re going to explore what it would look like to not change or fix these mental health symptoms, but rather to get to the core issue of mental health. And that is our sense of worth. 

Worth Is Central to Mental Health

In this world, it’s so difficult to separate your worth from your performance, what roles you have, or what identities you’ve placed on yourself over the years. And when those roles get stripped away, the core of your worth takes a hit . . . along with your mental health. 

When Robert experienced the stripping away of his roles as music executive, entrepreneur, and husband, he experienced a low-grade depression. “When all those things went away, I was left with the question of, ‘Who am I?’ And I didn’t realize how much that had to do with my mental health.” When all of a sudden, he was just raising his daughters on his own, it was a blow to his self-esteem and what he thought he valued—especially his worth.

For Solo Parent Amber, knowing her worth is incredibly essential. Recently, her engagement was broken off and the relationship ended. During all of that upheaval, she questioned her worth. Her self-esteem was tanked and she felt rejected. Fortunately, by God’s grace and the knowledge of who she is in Him, she feels her worth. But these are the very things that can pull and tear us down when we’re facing life transitions, loss, etc. There are so many things in this world that can drain our self-worth. We have to go to God daily and ask Him to remind us who we are and who He created us to be—no matter our circumstances.

There are so many things in our lives that really dig at our sense of self-worth. If there’s something that is going to get attacked in this world, it’s definitely that. For Solo Parent Elizabeth, she questions her worth and always has. “I’m learning who I am and how worthy I am. I’m learning not to put my self-worth in other things like a relationship. It’s a tearing and ripping apart—and man, it’s so painful.” Anyone who has been through a divorce knows that that rejection deeply. “I remember saying to my ex-husband, ‘Am I not worth you getting healthy for? Why am I not worth this to you?’ That question still haunts me. But at the same time, I know in my head that I’m worth more regardless of what his actions showed. But it’s so hard to convince yourself otherwise.” 

Abandoning Ourselves for the Sake of Others

In ministry and even in our culture, we are taught about abandoning ourselves. To serve others and put their needs before our own. But that comes at a cost. Here’s the truth: It’s important to be a humble servant. And it’s important to give and pour into others. But if we don’t have a sense of self, or if we abandon ourselves, it affects the core of our worth. When that happens, we won’t have anything to pour out.  

In our culture, performance equals success. And success equals our worth and our identity and who we are. The idea of pouring out everything for others can really hurt us as single parents. We are already giving so much. When you add everything else on top of it—the expectations of others, serving, performance, and our own ideas of success, we’ll be depleted with nothing to give to our kids. 

We’re conditioned to abandon ourselves because we’re celebrated for abandoning ourselves. If you’re fearful about being abandoned, you may even be the first one to abandon yourself, your boundaries, and even your values for the sake of worth. 

While it may not feel like it (especially in the moment), the process of being stripped down to bare bones and exposed before God can be an incredible opportunity. For Elizabeth, it was all about reprioritization. When there was nothing else but me and my son, it forced me to a spot of being able to say, “Okay, I’ve got to focus and prioritize myself, my child, what we need . . . and go to God in complete surrender. I remember laying on my floor weeping some mornings in complete surrender feeling like I had nothing. When you have nothing to give, your worth and your reason for living has to come from somewhere. And God shows you that over time.” 

Getting to the Core of Worth

When we’re in a situation of trauma, difficulty, or struggle, everyone handles it differently. But getting to the core issue of worth is really important especially when it’s related to mental health. Because our coping tendency can be to build up yet another role that we’re playing. Maybe you create the role of being a superhero single mom or super hero single dad instead of accepting your need for God to reaffirm your worth no matter what you do. 

Maybe your coping mechanism is to run toward activity—being an overachiever, wanting to save the world and your kids, be the perfect mom or dad, etc. Or maybe you’re coping mechanism is to turn towards apathy, depression, or hopelessness.  We all face trauma differently. It doesn’t look the same for all of us. It’s important to recognize that both of those reactions are not dealing with the core issue of mental health, which is worth. 

Rebuilding the Foundation for Your Worth

The core of a lot of mental health issues does has a foundation in our sense of worth. That’s why it’s so important to stabilize your foundation of self-worth in order to strengthen your mental health. 

Here are three tips that will help you rebuild your foundation:

  1. Discover your true self.

Discovering your true self means knowing who you are, honoring who God created you to be, and embracing that. 

When you’re looking for worth, it’s not survival strategies, accomplishments, relationships, or kids that make up who you are. But at the core, it’s discovering your true self. You are worth it. Unpeel those layers. At the root of it all, God says you’re worth it. Ask God to show you what He thinks of you. It may not happen instantaneously, but He will show you. 

Finding your true self isn’t a speech or a daily affirmation you can give yourself. It’s a surrender. It’s the faithfulness of God to show up and start whispering your worth to you. It could be in a vision and words. For others, it might be in Scripture. And for others, it could be audible.  It’s different for everybody. But make sure to capture that moment. Pay attention to it. Write it down. And don’t let it slip away. Be an active listener. Ask God, “What do you think about me?” Then let it sink into your heart and mind. 

  1. Know and acknowledge your needs.

Knowing your needs starts with connection to your heart and really listening to how you feel. Maybe you feel sad. Maybe you need comfort. Whatever it is, tune into that and then reach out in a healthy way to someone who may be able to help you with it.  For Amber, it’s praying and sitting with God, calling her sister, or texting a friend. 

Knowing and acknowledging your needs is about getting in touch with the voice of your heart and letting that voice be important enough to truly listen.  

  1. Practice speaking your needs.

Knowing how to speak your needs is really important. That may be something you’re good at, or it may be really hard for you. For most of us, articulating and sharing what we need with others is really hard. But you have to start somewhere. When you’re able to start opening up and sharing your needs with yourself and even with others, it allows you to get to the core of your true self. That process truly uncovers the core of who you are. The key is to find a safe place and explore those things with safe people. 

These three steps aren’t a silver bullet, but they’re a good starting point in the process of finding and understanding your worth. Self-worth is so critical to mental health. And when you can begin uncovering and peeling back the layers, you’ll begin to grasp your worth. Remember: You are worth this process. You are worthy . . . not because of what you can do or provide or how you perform, but because you are God’s and He calls you worthy. 



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