Low Self-Worth: How the Devil Uses It Against Us

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you experience feelings of low self-worth? Do you know where this comes from—and what harm it does?

Joyce Meyer argues that Satan tries to keep us in a negative mindset by making us feel unworthy of a positive life. She explains that most of our problems are the product of negative feelings we have about ourselves. Satan tries to make us feel bad for all of our missteps and failures. But, there’s hope and good news.

Read more to learn about Meyer’s view of low self-worth.

The Source of Low Self-Worth

Meyer explains that the devil uses any opportunity to convince us that we’re unworthy, unlikeable, or unloveable. We’ll always find something to feel bad about if we listen to him. 

Feelings of low self-worth will impact our relationships, goals, and outlook. We may lower our expectations, sabotage relationships, and expect failure from life because we believe that is what we deserve. At the extreme, our self-worth may sink so low that we stop envisioning a positive life altogether. 

The biggest problem with listening to Satan’s attacks on our self-worth is that we can convince ourselves that we’re unworthy of God’s love and forgiveness. Meyer explains that feelings of disgrace, blame, and shame make us unable to forgive ourselves for our flaws and mistakes. If we cannot forgive ourselves, we may feel like we’re so terrible that God won’t forgive us either.

Contrary to what Satan tries to tell us, Meyer reminds us that we don’t need to earn God’s forgiveness, because God’s forgiveness is unconditional, as long as we ask for it with our whole mind and spirit. She argues that if we wait until we’re “good enough” to be forgiven by God, we’ll never get there, because we’ll always be imperfect. Instead, we should accept that God loves us in our imperfect state and move forward. 

Self-Worth Versus Self-Esteem

Licensed clinical psychologist Adia Gooden also discusses the importance of accepting ourselves as we are. Like Meyer, Gooden explains that feeling like we need to change something about ourselves before we can feel “worthy” is an exercise in futility

But Gooden goes more in-depth than Meyer, explaining that, unlike self-esteem, which is based on external factors like our appearance, performance at work, and so on, our self-worth concerns our perception of our existential value. Basically, our self-worth is a measure of how entitled we feel to “take up space” in the world. While self-esteem can fluctuate based on external metrics of success, our self-worth is more deeply rooted and thus more constant. 

Gooden lays out three ways, in addition to self-acceptance, to improve our self-worth by changing our thinking:

1. We can forgive ourselves for mistakes we’ve made in the past. We can’t feel worthy if we’re angry and disappointed with ourselves.

2. We can have compassion for ourselves when we’re feeling our worst.

3. We can foster and strengthen interpersonal connections to have a strong support system.

Gooden’s advice is similar to Meyer’s, except that according to Gooden, our ultimate source of love and forgiveness comes from deep within ourselves rather than from God. 
Low Self-Worth: How the Devil Uses It Against Us

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Here's what you'll find in our full Battlefield of the Mind summary:

  • How the Devil makes it his mission to corrupt our minds with negative thoughts
  • How to recognize the signs that Satan is attacking your mind
  • How to thwart Satan’s attacks and find happiness and fulfillment

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, science, and philosophy. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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