To have a sense of our own worth, to feel that we can contribute something to the world's work, to value ourselves even when others may not appreciate us - these attitudes are essential to our satisfaction and well-being.
But how do we achieve this feeling of worth when, for instance, we feel defeated by everyday tasks, or can't measure up at the office, or when we feel unable to come up with a helpful answer for a friend in distress? Is there a way out of self-distrust and self-condemnation? Yes, there most assuredly is.
For a lasting, genuine feeling of worth we first need a better understanding of who we truly are. In I John we can find a description of our true identity: ''Beloved, now are we the sons of God.''n1 And Paul reaffirms this in his letter to the Romans: ''The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.''n2 The sons of God, His heirs! What a legacy! Inheritors of the limitless good that derives from our creator.
n1 I John 3:2.
n2 Romans 8:16, 17.
As the expression of His wholeness and perfection, our actual nature is unquestionably worthy. Isn't it important that we value this nature, that we think lovingly of the good in ourselves, which we know comes from God - and that we do this as an essential part of each day?
Too often, though, people tend to ''knock'' themselves with such spoken or unspoken thoughts as ''How stupid of me!'' ''I've never been good at that.'' ''Why can't I ever get anything right?'' Certainly self-examination is requisite. We need to face up to our shortcomings and overcome them. But if we continually identify ourselves with stupidity, inadequacy, or carelessness, how can we expect such traits to diminish? And how can we experience the feeling of worth we long for?
So a second need is to affirm about ourselves only what we want to have manifested in our lives. This may seem a large order, but it is important to persist in this work, even if our progress is modest. The ideal of spiritual perfection is our goal, and the present fact of our real being. But it's achieved by degrees. To love the love we are expressing and the motives that inspire us to enlarge our concept of love - this helps to meet the ideal. And to appreciate the intelligence, foresight, comprehension,and ability we are now showQng helps to pave the - for contributing more. Love, intelligence, ability, are attributes of God, who is Love itself and the one perfect Mind. And because we are the offspring of God, there is really no limit to what we can express of these qualities.
A third vital element in firming up our sense of worth is to actm in accord with our higher view of ourselves. ''We must look where we would walk, and we must act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being,''n3 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Action impelled by prayer and by identification of ourselves as God's offspring, has the Christ-love abiding in it - the spirit of love that Christ Jesus expressed - and therefore has the strength of the Christ to fulfill and complete its purpose. The Christ purifies our motives, making them unselfish, and helps us to discern not only our own worth but the worth of each individual we come in contact with. In this way we uplift our means of doing good, and we find that suggestions of ''can't do'' or ''don't want to do'' are no longer part of our thinking.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 264.
We'll also find the happiness and contentment that unselfish love always brings. After a lifetime of learning, Mrs. Eddy wrote, ''Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.''n4
n4 Message to the Mother Church for 1902, p. 17
If this is the satisfaction we are seeking, it can be attained, and the way is open. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothng. James 1:4