Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Real Self-Worth ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Real Self-Worth ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

When I first began teaching school, lessons designed to build students' self-esteem were a popular instructional tool. The theory was that the more keenly students felt their own value, the more they would achieve in the classroom.

A recent study, however, suggests something different. It says that a high opinion of oneself alone isn't an accurate measure of future success (see The Christian Science Monitor, "Has Generation Y overdosed on self-esteem?" Mar. 2).

Although the study's findings are still being debated, the evidence shows the downside of having an "all about me" focus. Like an inflated piece of real estate or an overpriced handbag, an exaggerated view of oneself can be an unwise investment. It can lead to impulsive decisions that overlook the long-term welfare of ourselves and others.

The current research finds that what enables us to establish and sustain the kinds of healthy relationships that truly satisfy is a balance of individuality and compassion. We can have that balance right now, as we learn that there is no bond more important than our relationship with God.

In fact, to find out who we are, we have to start with our Creator. The Bible says, "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth" (Isa. 40:26).

We reflect God's infinite goodness through the many spiritual qualities that we express, and this is what gives each of us our individual significance. We find our worth as we gain a deeper understanding of God's power.

It's God's power, not our own apparent cunning and drive, that gives our lives momentum and direction. As we cultivate the recognition of divine Spirit in our minutes and hours, and as we look for the many ways that He is active in our day, we begin to see that we are the beneficiaries of God's largess, rather than the personal originators of human fulfillment. …

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