I’m 43 years old and I’ve spent my entire life wanting other people to tell me I’m okay,” says Claire. First, it was my father. To this day, I still look to him to give me some sort of positive feedback. I don’t think he ever will. Next, it was my husband, but he never helped me to feel like I was worthwhile either. Now to top it off, he wants a divorce.”
Feelings of rejection are understandably strong when your mate walks out the door. If you lived with someone who is neglectful, distant, or abusive, you may have experience rejection for some time. The experience of rejection gives a piercing blow right to the heart of your self-worth.
That someone no longer loves you does not mean that you are not lovable. That someone no longer values you does not mean that you are not valuable. The God of all creation loves and values you very much.
Many different influences can go into someone’s decision to leave a marriage. Not all of them have to do with the merits of the individual who is left. Outside influences, family history, and even the self-esteem of the departing person can be among the contributing factors. It does not necessarily mean that either party in the divorce is a bad person.
If your former partner dishes out demeaning comments, it can further your sense of rejection. Repeated putdowns can result in feelings of inferiority. Take comfort in knowing that harsh words and behaviors say more about the person dishing them out than they do about the person who is receiving them. Do not give another person the power to make you feel bad about yourself.
Do Not Allow Anyone to Convince You that You are Unworthy!
Believing you are unworthy because your spouse rejected you or treated you poorly is allowing the actions of that person to put a fear in your heart that perhaps you really may be unworthy. As Proverbs 29:25 states, that fear “will prove to be a snare.” Accepting the idea that you are unworthy opens you to a host of vulnerabilities. Do not allow anyone to convince you that you are unworthy.
You are worthy when you are a child of God. That is why Proverbs also states that, “whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Trusting that God values you restores your sense of worth and protects you from falling prey to the snare of human judgments.
While attending a Peace after Divorce Workshop/Support Group at her church, Claire says she had an, “ah-ha moment.” She now realizes that she needs to spend time learning to feel good about herself from the inside. By doing so, she will be able to feel good about herself without allowing her self-worth to depend on other people.
I’ve never done that for myself. I’ve always looked to other people to tell me I’m worth something. It’s time I work on feeling good about myself.”
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25 NIV
Adapted from Peace after Divorce by Renee Smith Ettline