By Reverend Sherri L. Board, M.A.

As an adult survivor of childhood abuse, no negative thought, not shame not anxiety not dissociation, becomes more caught in my throat than this ache of having a very low self-worth. It lodges itself there, this distasteful pill.

Psychologically, we can think of self-worth as having a positive opinion of ourselves, as having a worthy—a good and deserving—respect for our own selves.

Spiritually, Scripture has plenty of passages that describe God’s opinion of our worth as his children. Psalm 139:13-14, for example, tells us, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (NIV)

For many adults who were abused as children, we do not have respect for ourselves nor do we believe that we are wonderful creations of God.

What do we do? Psychologically, we need to replace the negative thoughts that we hold for ourselves with positive ones. We need to begin to respect ourselves by dissociating with people who make us feel even worse and treat ourselves as we wish others would, with kindness and integrity. Spiritually, let’s open our wounded hearts to God. Let’s let him fix what is broken in us. His healing is free.

I truly believe that if we stop expecting others to respect us and simply do the respecting of ourselves, if we begin to believe that we truly are God’s wonderful creations, that distasteful pill will fall into a bath of love and gentleness and dissolve.