For a number of years I have felt an unease, this creeping sensation in my soul that I couldn’t pinpoint. Sometimes I would name it “unworthy,” at other times “not good enough,” “flawed,” or “ugly.” But a few weeks ago, the word hit me like a bulldozer:
That’s the feeling I had never quite been able to put a finger on. Probably because the rational side of me knows it’s not true. And not just untrue, but ridiculous. My family members say “I love you” to each other all the time. I have friends who would drop what they’re doing and drive a thousand miles to see me. The students I teach each week clamor to give me a hug before going home with their parents.
I am loved. You are loved.
But that truth can be hard to believe when you’ve had really important people in your life make you feel really, really terrible about yourself.
I grew up with an alcoholic father. He always told my sister and me that he loved us, yet he was never around and rarely showed his love through his actions or words. I grew up trying to be perfect, so he would have no reason to get mad at me.
After I turned twenty, I let a guy in for the first time in a long time. But he too failed to treat me like he should, never prioritizing our relationship. I was in love with him, but he suddenly walked out of my life one day. I sat there tear-stained and stunned, dwelling on how little I realized I must have meant to him.
Then I fell in love with someone who I thought was the right man. We were talking about marriage and even made a potential guest list, so we knew how much we had to save up. He was the complete opposite of my father and absolutely wonderful. I learned so much about myself and what a healthy relationship looks like and gave my absolute best.
Yet even he left. Again, very suddenly. So I sat there wracking my brain for what must be intrinsically wrong with me. And the answer for me, for you, is: nothing. Nothing is wrong with you! Yes, you may have flaws, bad habits, or baggage. But we all do. They do not make you unworthy of love. You are not unlovable because of what someone else says or does to you. Don’t base your self-worth on what a few people have said or done to you.
Life is hard, but I believe there is a reason for everything. It’s up to us to make the best of what we have. Don’t stop fighting to see your self-worth even when others don’t recognize it. And if no one has told you this yet today, let me be the first:
I love you. And I hope you love you, too.