Low Self-Worth Turns Friends into Enemies


Low Self-Worth Makes Enemies of Friends

In his book, Show Me the Way, Henri Nouwen challenges our source of self-worth. He says…

When we cling to the results of our actions as our own way of self-identification, then we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life. page 67, Show Me the Way

What Defines Your Self-Worth?

Let me unpack this a bit.  Think about whatever it is that you do that gives you a sense of worth; your athletic ability, your work performance, your looks, your children, your Bible knowledge, your grades, etc. If you are honest this behavior easily becomes your identity. It becomes your scorecard that you show people to prove your worth and justifies your existence.

Take a second. Don’t be so quick to say “not me”. Go ahead. Admit it. That’s human nature.

The question really isn’t IF you think this way. It’s, What can I do about the way I think? How can I shift my thinking away from this faulty validation system?

The problem with this kind of scorecard system is that you have to defend it. That’s what the Nouwen quote is about. You have to prove to others the importance of your specialty and why you must spend time on it. You need to protect not only the specialty but your record. It’s work! It’s easy to see everyone as a threat. Every person in your life can potentially deny the value of what you depend on for self-worth. You can’t let that happen!

Low Self-Worth Creates Enemies

That’s why Nouwen says that people become our enemies and not our friends. Our talents are not gifts to share with friends. They are merely badges to prove our self-worth.  This behavior doesn’t draw us close to people but distances us more and more into a place of isolation.

Has that happened to you? Maybe that’s why you are lonely…you spend too much time proving your worth, to others, and even yourself.

Find Your Self-Worth in God Alone

What if you reject this validation system and find validation from God’s love?  Suddenly people are no longer your enemy. You don’t need their approval. You’ve already got your approval from God. Instead of needing something from your friends you’ve got something to give them. Something to consider.

Question: How has low self-worth caused you to distance yourself from friends? Leave your comments below and be sure to “share the knowledge” by clicking the links. Thanks.

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