I’ve been living most of my life trying to prove to myself that I’m a good person, while secretly believing I was garbage just because others told me that. That’s a staggering realization, but necessary.
All during my school years, I kept thinking if I just make the best grades, just do enough good deeds, just love others enough, I’ll transcend the distance between “living garbage heap” and “actual worthwhile human.” Meanwhile I was rotting inside because I had taken in others’ jealousy and hatred and believed it; I believed having a good opinion of myself was conceited, and I didn’t want to be conceited because conceited people were inherently “bad.” I desperately did not want to be thought of as bad, so I tried to be good in all the ways I knew how.
And yet, in spite of this, so many different people over the years told me I was trash and suggested I should kill myself–how could all those people be wrong? The majority opinion carries, doesn’t it? I argued that case so many times in my head during my growing up years, and every time I was convicted: I was indeed trash and had to earn any love I dared to want. No matter how many people told me I was good, I knew the “truth”–that I was inherently a “bad” person, and that’s why others were mean to me. I came to believe every person I ever met would scorn me and seek out ways to hurt me as soon as they found out I was imperfect (read: unlovable and worthless).
I am almost completely freed of these poisonous ideas now, and it feels pretty amazing to be able to have a good self-belief at last. I no longer have to be perfect to feel worthy of love. I no longer need to earn others’ friendship, or put myself down. I am imperfect but not unlovable, flawed but not worthless. Others’ opinions of me do not override what I know about myself–that I exist for a purpose, and that I am loved no matter what.
What ringing truth in my ears, truth filled with so much love that it makes me weep. Just feeling worthy of love felt so impossible when I was younger, and now it’s a gift I can actually believe is mine to open. I still am astounded at it. When you finally believe you’re worthy of love, it helps you exist without being afraid, without having to rely on others’ judgments–and it helps you see others as worthy of love, too. It’s a freeing experience. 💕