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My quora answers sometimes seem like they may have value on their own.

Last week I answered a person who seemed genuinely to be struggling with feelings of worthlessness. She asked, “How can I overcome the feeling that life is unnecessary?”

I answered:

If you begin to love yourself, which the Bible encourages, you will at least recognize that you have an important role to play as a member of the human race and, one day, a joint participant in the noble obligation of protecting a world and contributing to a community. Your unique perspective, including the sense of failure you are feeling now, is valuable and necessary to the balance that will one day characterize the human race.

And if you begin to love your neighbors as much as yourself, as the Bible also encourages, you will find that many, many of your neighbors near and far desperately need significant contributions that you can make… And that would be lost without your help.

She wrote back: “How do we love ourselves? Help me!!!”

This is my reply. I hope she found it helpful:

Read psalm 139. There it talks about each human being in the womb. How each of us is made in secret so to speak. The truth is that you are a miracle. If your creator loves you, why shouldn’t you love yourself?

You should love yourself for what you mean to your family. Most likely, there are family members who dearly love you.

You should love yourself for who and what you are. The way you contribute to your world. You make more contributions than you are aware of. Allow others to tell you what these contributions are… and don’t dismiss them.

You should love yourself for what you can do or become — your talent, nascent character, aspirations. If you begin to do one thing, every day, for 15 minutes… to help another, or to make the world better … such as learn to whistle or play a song, become well-informed on a topic and teach it to others, work an extra hour and give it to someone who needs it, read to a child, paint an abandoned fence or clean up a dirty section of the roadside. Write a story or a movie; join Big Brothers/Big Sisters and mentor a kid. There is no end to the possibilities. By far the most useful investment of time, if you feel drawn to it by God, is to study the Bible, obey the correction it gives to your heart, and share what it teaches you … in a way that does not condemn people, but builds their hope and goodness.
And you should, even on your worst days, love yourself for what God, your creator has invested in you. As Martin Luther put it, if you want to know how big your sins are, look at the price God used to atone for them. He applied the most precious substance in the world — the blood of Christ. That makes you incredibly valuable. And God will get his investment in you. God is a patient investor in the human race and planet earth. He’s been working toward his goals for almost 14 billion years, and a little human depression is not a roadblock to him.
Your current ambivalence will not be used against you. God — who holds and protects your destiny — is smiling and happy, knowing that in the fulness of time your sins will be blotted out, and your value will grow like the lily, the cedar, or the pearl.
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