No matter how many times your friends and family tell you how much they love you, all you think is “I don’t feel good enough to be loved.” You’ve read articles on how to increase your feelings of self-worth, you listened to your counselor’s tips on how to feel good enough for love, and you’ve even asked God to help you feel better about yourself.
But no matter what you do, you still struggle with feelings of unlovability and low self-worth. Maybe you’re also coping with guilt and shame. You’ve made mistakes, let people down, perhaps even broke your mom’s heart. Maybe you accidentally hurt someone you love, or you failed to protect something you were supposed to take good care of. Even if you’ve been forgiven by others — even if God forgave you — you can’t forgive yourself.
You may feel sad and hopeless right now, but take heart! I have good news. You don’t have to live with feelings of unlovability and low self-worth. You can find healing and freedom when you don’t feel good enough to be loved.
You’re not the only one who doesn’t feel good enough to be loved. Here’s what one reader said on When You Don’t Feel Good Enough for Your Husband:
“I’ve read a lot of articles on the internet about how to feel good enough to be loved. I’m struggling with my self-worth. And everything I read says to accept that my marriage is over. I haven’t got anyone to talk to. I tried talking to his mom but she just said sharply that he’s a good man. ‘You couldn’t do better. And when you’re married, that’s it. You’ve just got to work it out,’ his mom said.”
Just “working it out” isn’t a good solution when you don’t feel good enough to be loved. Listening to wounded, heartbroken people who say you can’t do better won’t heal your feelings of unlovability. Allowing hopelessness and helplessness to overcome you won’t free you from low self-worth and suffering.
When You Don’t Feel Good Enough to Be Loved
In this article you’ll discover four important things about coping with feelings of unlovability and low self-worth. The most important thing to remember when you feel unloved and alone is that you were created intentionally, lovingly, and carefully. God knew you before you were a twinkle in your father’s eye or an embryo in your mother’s womb.
1. The reason you don’t feel good enough to be loved
Maybe you’re struggling with feelings of unlovability and low self-worth because your parents, husband, children, family, friends or coworkers told you that you’re not good enough. Maybe you’ve done a few bad things, made a few mistakes, failed a few times. Maybe you hurt someone you love, cheated on your husband, even accidentally caused a serious injury or death. Maybe you feel guilty for having an abortion, hitting or kicking your mom, harming an animal. Maybe you can’t forgive yourself for the things you’ve done.
Or maybe you constantly feel guilty and ashamed for no reason at all! You just don’t feel good enough to be loved no matter what people tell you — and you haven’t even done anything wrong. This is actually more normal (and more human) than you think. It’s a natural consequence of being alive…especially if you’ve met God. If you know Jesus or have experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence, then you’ll naturally struggle with feeling not good enough. Why? Because God is so good, glorious, holy and pure that nothing measures up. You can’t truly be in God’s presence without feeling small, humble, and fearful.
2. Why you’re still struggling
No matter how many self-help books or “10 ways to feel good enough to be loved” articles you read, you can’t think your way to self-love. You can’t heal the pain by emptying your mind or reciting positive messages — even if they’re about hope and healing.
Your feelings of unlovability and low self-worth are entrenched in your mind. You hear the hiss of the snake, the darkness of the void. You can’t look away. Now, you’ve been struggling with this problem long enough to know that you can’t overcome it alone. When you don’t feel good enough to be loved, you can’t talk, argue or convince yourself that you’re loved. You have to admit defeat because you just don’t have the strength, energy, resources or even the motivation to cope with your pain.
3. How I overcame my low self-worth
In Growing Forward When You Can’t Go Back I describe how I coped when I didn’t feel good enough to be loved. I went to counseling for almost a year; my Christian counselor Nancy was very helpful and supportive…but she didn’t solve my problem or heal my pain. She taught me the psychological reasons behind my feelings of unlovability and low-self worth. She gave me tools to rebuild my self-worth and self-identity. She affirmed who I am as a child of God. But Nancy couldn’t give or teach me what only God can and did: the deep, loving, rich roots of my identity in Jesus Christ.
There is something funny about Jesus. He’s not predictable or even safe, but He is good. Jesus is bold yet humble, powerful yet quiet. Being in His presence transformed me from feeling unlovable and insecure to deeply loved, cherished, and treasured. It didn’t happen overnight; my healing was a gradual process of recognizing the Holy Spirit and simply sitting in God’s presence. It’s simple, yet deeper than the six billion galaxies that surround us.
4. When you don’t feel good enough
Go home to God. Take a deep breath, and be still. Allow yourself not to feel good enough to be loved…because the truth is that you alone aren’t good enough to be in God’s presence. You need Jesus Christ to be the bridge to God. You need the Holy Spirit to show you how much God loves you, to transform you.
Changing how you see and feel about yourself isn’t about trying harder to be good or waiting longer for God to act. Learning what to do when you don’t feel good enough to be loved isn’t even about praying more vigilantly. Healing your heart and spirit is about simply accepting Jesus’ gift of grace and love. Learn what Jesus did on the cross. Rest in the assurance that He has gone ahead ahead of you — because He loves you deeply and more powerfully than anyone ever could or will.
Explore the idea that Jesus’ life and death somehow, mysteriously, brings the Holy Spirit’s power into your body, mind, spirit and life. Jesus Christ can change you. Instead of “I don’t feel good enough for love” you’ll know deep in your bones that you aren’t good enough…and yet God loves you anyway.
Your thoughts — big and little — are welcome below!
With His love,
P.S. Do you feel unlovable and unworthy because of a recent breakup? Read How to Stop Feeling Unlovable After a Breakup.