Building Healthy Self-Esteem

In Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project ®, Dr. Del Tackett states that every human being is possessed by a deep “hunger for significance.” This hunger, he goes on to say, can become a huge liability when we’re tempted to satisfy it outside the context of fellowship with our Creator. In that case, it can lead to pride, a puffed up ego, and a lust for self-aggrandizement. It can drive us to serve all kinds of false idols. It can inspire us to inflict untold damage on ourselves and the people around us.

But that’s not the whole story. For as Dr. Tackett goes on to explain, this “hunger for significance” – or, as some have described it, this need for healthy self-esteem – is actually basic to our humanity. We might even say that it’s foundational to our relationship with the Lord. Why? Because it’s the thing that drives us to seek out a connection with something or Someone bigger than ourselves. It’s the key to discovering our purpose in the universe.

What are some things you can do to encourage the development of healthy esteem in yourself and others? Here are a few lines of action you might consider exploring:

  • Understand the biblical doctrine of creation. Realize that you are infinitely valuable because God made you. Not only that, but He made you in His own image(Genesis 1:27)! In ways we will never fully be able to explain, you are like As a result, you have the ability to enjoy a personal relationship with Him and live out His purposes in this world.
  • Get in touch with your uniqueness as a person. God made you different from everyone else in the world. Spend some time figuring out what that means. What is it about you that makes you who you are? What gets you excited? What do you love to do most? Explore your strengths and natural inclinations. Accept your weaknesses and realize that it’s okay not to be good at everything.
  • Meditate on God’s love. His love is unconditional – there is nothing we have to do to earn it and nothing we can do to make Him stop loving us. Point out that God loves us simply because He is our Father and we are His children.
  • Don’t compare yourself with others. This is a very dangerous way of finding self-worth. When you’re tempted to go that route, remember what Paul says in Philippians 2:4: “Look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” This is perhaps the very best way to find out exactly who you are and who God wants you to be.  

You can learn more about developing good self-esteem and fulfilling your hunger for significance in healthy ways by reading R. C. Sproul’s book The Hunger for Significance. It’s available through Focus on the Family’s Online Store which can be accessed via the home page of the ministry’s website.