Our self-worth is not determined by the acceptance of others

The 1st guest post! | a poem | a drawing

Issue 110

This is the very first guest post on HopeMail, by Debbie Loh. 🥳

Debbie is a dear friend of mine who writes, plays the guitar, works in a church, has too many plants at home; loves God, the Bible, and her husband. 

She blogs too.

I read this essay, resonate deeply with it, and I’d love for you to read it too. 

It talked about our identity and the psychological trap that some people are in, subconsciously seeking acceptance on social media.

No. It’s not a millennial thing. I have heard of a sweet lady in her 60s who, after her Facebook post didn’t get many likes; questioned, “Was my post not good?”

I mean, like, GAH! This is insane.

I, too, am not spared. (Not proud of it, but it’s the truth.) That’s one of the reasons why I took several breaks from social media over the past couple of years. Plus, I‘ve lost the taste for sharing where I’ve been, who I’m with. Plus (can’t have too many plusses), I’m uncomfortable with how “they” are mining our data…which we happily dished out to them in shovels.

I might write another piece on the psychological effects and the darker side of social media in the future. But in this issue, here’s a beautifully-written essay by Debbie, on self-worth.

Here comes the sun—by Debbie Loh

We live in a world where our feelings of self-worth are determined by the responses of others. Through likes, comments, DMs. These little responses give us the emotional rush that makes us feel like we did or said something right.
Like we are recognised, acknowledged, liked. 

Like we are seen.
Like we are known.
That a bunch of people knew something about what we have to offer to the world.
That a bunch of people saw a part of us that was beautiful and praiseworthy.
And we relish the fact that some people did see us.
Did see our beauty and goodness.

And some days, we don’t get the responses we hope for. Was my photo not good enough? Was the thing that my photo captured not good enough? Why was it less popular than the others? But I liked that memory, or quote, a lot.

And on and on it goes.

I was gazing out of my balcony one day and I noticed that the Japanese roses I had always faced the sun. I’d put them there for my enjoyment, because they were pretty to look at with the bright, dazzling colours that they would offer every day. But all I would see would be their sides or their backs. Their best side, their prettiest side, was facing the sun.

I could always turn them toward me to enjoy but I knew that before long their faces would turn back to lap up the rays of the sun.

I then began to imagine myself as the flower, with my face turned toward God who is my source of life, lapping up His rays of light contentedly.

Wouldn’t my best side be most apparent to God, who feeds and provides for me? Wouldn’t He, being the one who makes me beautiful, be also the one who delights in me the most, since my face is turned toward him?

You see, if I was a foolish flower, turned away from the sun, I mightn’t be as pretty as if I was gazing at the sun, since that is the optimal way I can take in the sun. And since I’m a normal regular sane flower, I’m turned toward the sun, would I not be the most beautiful and good version of myself?

Would not this mean that only the sun can see the best version of myself? (If you stood in the position of the sun, you’d be blocking the sun’s rays from me. Not optimal.)

Wouldn’t that mean that those around me do not and cannot have the best view of me, and therefore are not even able to provide me with the affirmation and delight that I desire? The desire, or need, to be known. The desire, and dare I say, need, to be seen…?

In Psalm 139, the Psalmist is captured by the rays of light that radiate from God. His gaze is fully upon God, whom he realises is always watching over him, and knows him fully. Knowing this brings the Psalmist deep wonder and joy. It reminds of that moment when Jesus was in the River Jordan, and a voice said “You are my Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

The Psalmist is captivated by His Creator, who knitted him from his mother’s womb. God sees and knows him through and through, as light that shines brightly upon a flower.

As I imagine the Psalmist saying these words in adoration, I wonder, what is God’s seeing when He is looking at the Psalmist? And, I do believe He sees what we as onlookers are not fully seeing—the best version of the Psalmist gazing at God in rapturous awe.

I am almost 100% certain that no one else gets this view but God.
I am 100% certain that He deserves this (exclusive?) view of us.
And I am 100% certain that we need to know that.


Our self-worth is not determined by the acceptance of others. But by the One who created us.

Something to think about

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Though this phrase was used to tell people to stop complaining about a difficult situation or to stop doing it, I find it useful to tell myself that if being on social media, or my activity on social media is not doing me much good (or more harm than good), I can always choose to leave. 

Are you on social media? What’s your relationship with social media?

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