Every person, at some point or another, has questioned just how worthy they are to be loved.
Maybe you have close friends and/or family, but you secretly wonder if they're all just putting up with you. Or maybe there is no one in your life who ardently loves and supports you.
Maybe you don't get why anyone would actually love you or want to be with you when you can hardly stand yourself.
If you feel or have ever felt anything similar to that, I think music would help.
1. "Believer" by Emily King.
Why someone would be so good to me
Is there something else?
Something you're trying to achieve?
This jazz number is about questioning all the good someone does. "They seem like they're trying to get close to me, but why? What game are they playing?" The skeptical stance on love gives way to being willing to risk getting hurt in order to experience love.
It can be easy to doubt anyone would truly love us when we feel as though we're not worth being loved. If you feel that way, this song will resonate with you—and encourage you to open your heart to those trying to win it.
2. "I'm Yours" by Alessia Cara.
Oh I hate that I
Spend my days just wasting time
Day dreaming til I see you again
I'm not used to this
Oh I used to be so used to boys just using me
For you to be you to me
Feels new to me
Alessia Cara brought an absolute bop to her first full-length album back in 2015 (though most of the songs on that album are bops, let's be real). Cara vents her frustrations at falling again for a guy when she was content being by herself and never trusting a man again. The mood of the verses can be summed up with the lines: "I'm mad at you / For being so cute."
But, just as with King, Cara's jaded skepticism gives way to promising that she's tearing down her walls, opening her doors, and making room for one. No matter how scared of love we may feel, it's never worth shutting ourselves off from the world.
3. "Hello My Old Heart" by The Oh Hellos.
Hello, my old heart
How have you been?
How is it being locked away?
Don't you worry, in there, you're safe
And it's true, you'll never beat
But you'll never break
However hard we may try to keep our hearts safe from being broken, we're ultimately hurting ourselves. They can't beat if they're locked away; they must be set free.
The song reminds of what said C.S. Lewis said about the very topic:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
4. "Sunflower" by Shannon Purser.
But I'm a sunflower, a little funny
If I were a rose, maybe you'd want me
If I could, I'd change overnight
I'd turn into something you'd like
While the movie was certainly problematic for various reasons, you can't deny the absolutely relatable anthem that came from it (it helps that Shannon Purser's voice is like silk wrapped around your ear).
Purser's titular character in the film, Sierra Burgess, composes this song to express her deep insecurity that comes from now looking like the stereotypical beauty queen, and wonders if that means she's not worthy of being loved by her crush.
While expressing insecurity, it still praises the idea of being you, however that may look. If you're a sunflower, then rock it.
5. "Lovely" by Sara Haze.
And what gave you the right
To tell me who I should be?
Who gave you that right?
'Cause I feel lovely just the way that I am
Sara Haze is clearly recovering from a rather dysfunctional relationship in this song. Whether that relationship is romantic, familial, a friendship, or her relationship to society isn't exactly clear, but the message remains the same: You shouldn't have to adhere to any nonsensical standards; just be yourself.
If you feel hard to love because of how people are treating you, know that ultimately, what they think doesn't matter. God made you who you are for a reason, and every part is great.
6. "Scars To Your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara.
She has dreams to be an envy, so she's starving
You know, cover girls eat nothing
She says, "Beauty is pain and there's beauty in everything
What's a little bit of hunger?
I could go a little while longer," she fades away
Alessia Cara strikes again. While this song is similar to "Sunflower" in that it conveys the inadequacies young women especially tend to feel (thanks, society), its empowering message is stated a lot more clearly.
The whole purpose of this song is to assure everyone who may feel like they're not pretty enough that however they look is beautiful and good enough. Cara asks listeners to let this song act as her being their mirror, highlighting the light and beauty within each. She assures them that there's "no better you than the you that you are," reminding them over and over that instead of trying to fit the world's unrealistic standards of beauty, the world should be the one to change.
(The music video is moving, featuring all different types of people and their stories the idea that everyone is beautiful.)
7. "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World.
Hey, don't write yourself off yet
It's only in your head you feel left out or looked down on
Just try your best
Try everything you can
And don't you worry what they tell themselves when you're away
A classic, "The Middle" is an attempt to encourage everyone who suffers from believing they're hated or disliked or not good enough because of the people around them. Don't worry about them; just do your own thing. Things will get better, I promise. The ride's not over yet.
8. "This Is Me" by Keala Settle ft. "The Greatest Showman" Cast.
And I know that I deserve your love
'Cause there's nothing I'm not worthy of
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I'm meant to be, this is me
"The Greatest Showman" follows P.T. Barnum and his first circus. It is all about empowering the outcast and misfit. This song just so happens to capture the entire film's message.
Instead of letting yourself be made to feel ashamed or hiding away, recognize how glorious of a creation you are. Don't be scared to be seen. You are who you are, and who you are is so worthy of love.
9. "The Garden" by Kari Jobe.
Love is lifting me from sorrow
Catching every tear
Dispelling every lie and torment
Crushing all my fears...
With Your perfect love
While all of the previous songs are great, empowering anthems, I personally don't believe I can find my worth in and of myself. I'm not perfect all of the time; I mess up and can be mean and selfish. In my own eyes, I'm not worth loving. But my opinion doesn't define me—God's does.
This song is perfect for bringing healing to the lies we believe that cause us to think we're hard to love or even not worthy of it. God has planned ahead for this season of personally meeting you where you are and, with His perfect love, healing your broken soul.
10. "In The Name Of Love" by Kari Jobe.
When there's madness, when there's poison in your head
When the sadness leaves you broken in your bed
I will hold you in the depths of your despair
And it's all in the name of love
Yes, I know this is originally by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha. And while their version is obviously great, I love Kari Jobe's the most. She covers it as a worship song, viewing God as the one who ___.
While it's important to open ourselves up to the people in our lives, they will ultimately disappoint us. We human beings are fallible; messing up and hurting one another is unfortunately in our nature. So if our hope is in people, we'll be let down, and it will make the most sense to close ourselves off.
But when our hope is in God, when He is the source of our love and worth and security, then we can freely open ourselves up to others, even running the risk of getting hurt. Because we know where we stand. We know we're loved. We know we're safe.
11. "Reckless Love" by Steffany Gretzinger.
There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me
This song can be controversial in the modern church, so I wanted to clarify: This song is not calling God reckless. Rather, it's saying that from our perspective and finite understanding, it seems reckless. Cory Asbury, the writer of the song, explains it much better than me.
When we feel like we're not worth being loved, this song is a good reminder that God says we are—and He's willing to go to extreme lengths to pursue our hearts.
It's the love that's been there all along, chasing us, rescuing us, singing over us. It's the love that fights until we're found, that's willing to leave the 99 sheep to go after the lost one. It's the love that we could never earn or deserve, and yet it's freely given. It's reckless.
12. "Pieces" by Amanda Cook.
Your love's not fractured, it's not a troubled mind
It isn't anxious, it's not the restless kind
Your love's not passive, it's never disengaged
It's always present, it hangs on every word we say
Love keeps it promises, it keeps its word
It honors what's sacred 'cause its vows are good
Your love's not broken, it's not insecure
Your love's not selfish
Your love is pure
I know that's a lot, but I really wanted to include the entire bridge because every line is so powerful. God's love is unlike any we've ever known or experienced. It's the best kind of love we have in its most raw and pure form, and it's all for us. It's a good reminder that He will never hide away from us or tease us or give us His heart in pieces. Instead, He gives us all of Himself.
My hope for you is that you always feel loved and valued—because you are.
Yes, you are an incredible human being who should never feel ashamed or insecure about how God made you. You shouldn't be afraid to love and be hurt, because love is always worth the risk.
But more than that, you need to know how unfailingly loved you are by Someone who is perfect and unlike anyone else you've ever known. Where people have let you down, He never will. Where people have made you feel that you are hard to love, He says you're worth sacrificing everything for.