Ever since my divorce at 29, after a very short lived three year marriage, I have struggled to find love…not because it hasn’t been there, but because I have not felt worthy.
When you don’t feel worthy of love, and yet you’re out on the hunt, it doesn’t bode well for your success.
What you search for, what you feel worthy of, you find.
Returning home to the apartment I shared with my husband to see it empty, cleared of all of his things without warning, created a story in my head of who I was and what I was worth.
I answered the question, “How could someone leave me like this?” by assuming that it must be my fault, there must be something horribly wrong with me.
I must be unlovable.
These are the truths the voice in my head said again and again… there was something wrong with me.
My solution, friend, was to try to be good… to be perfect.
The outside world shows us women who and what we are supposed to be. We’re supposed to be thin, mysterious, alluring, sexy, capable, and secure… but not too much of any of these things, we have to leave space for a man to swoop in and take care of us.
So, I embarked on a journey – sometimes a subconscious one – to be and do all the right things in order to earn the love of a man.
Maybe if I was pretty enough, mysterious enough, thin enough, alluring enough, sexy enough I would meet someone who would stay, someone who wouldn’t abandon me in the middle of the night, someone who wouldn’t run away from me.
I believed that there was something about me that forced people away, a repellent of some sort that deemed me unlovable.
My role was to be a lesson, a stepping stone, a distraction, a rumination on the way to someone and something better. These were the roles I was comfortable filling, for they protected my heart and proved my story to myself, that there was something wrong with me that would force people to leave.
The thing with a belief system is that if you believe it, if you think about it, it will become your reality.
So I made this story true, again and again and again.
Heartbreak after heartbreak, each carefully created, tended, and designed by my own hand.
What a revelation that was.
At some point you HAVE to stop and take long hard look at yourself. You have to look at the life you’re living and those lessons that keep presenting themselves to you over, and over, and over.
If you don’t learn the lesson, you will continually find yourself in the same circumstances again and again, just as I did with the relationships I found myself in.
Because I felt unworthy and unlovable, I chose partners who were either physically distant or emotionally distant. I chose partners who were not a match for me in some way… either intellectually, emotionally, or physically.
Because I felt unworthy, I believed that I would have to continually work or try or fix myself or a relationship in order to BE worthy. I had to choose relationships that were lacking in some way, so that I could do the work, earn the love, prove my worth.
What finally woke me up was a devastating breakup of a relationship that I tried so hard to make work.
I knew that there were problems, red flags that I pretended I didn’t see.
There were the harsh words that I brushed off, the unexplained late nights that I felt guilty to question, the little bags of white powder hidden around the house, the lies told to explain phone calls, pictures, and text messages that I convinced myself to believe.
The sad truth, friend, is that I didn’t wake up on my own to see these things. I persisted in not staring straight at the truth before me. Instead, I purposelessly unfocused my gaze so that I would see only that which I wanted to.
Until his daughter whispered the truth to me.
Until his daughter apologized with tears running down her face, in a voice that kept catching in her throat, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. He’s seeing another girl. She stays the night when you’re not here. The walls are thin. I’ve heard it all. Dad ruins everything,” and then she flung her arms around my waist and hid her face in my shoulder.
In that moment my whole world came into focus and it struck me, almost taking me off balance, that I was teaching this beautiful young woman a lesson in what women should accept in life and love. I was showing my own daughter the expectations she should have of how she deserves to be treated. I was helping to model how men treat women they love to his son.
The life I’d settled into. The life I was accepting as ‘good enough’ for me, wasn’t what I wanted to show the children watching me.
I wanted to teach a better lesson.
So, I said that I loved her and her brother very, very much and that I was so thankful for them and how she, in particular, looked out for me. I told her that I was sorry that she had to be put in the role of caretaker and truth speaker, that I should have been taking better care of myself.
So I have, friend.
Finding love has to first begin with learning to love yourself, with facing down all the ugly stories that you tell yourself, and demanding better.
Recently I was told that it sounds like I am trying to convince myself that I am a ‘big deal’…
and it’s because I am.
In my heart I know that I am worthy. That who I am is good enough. This is a truth I know in my core.
However, I’m still rewiring that old story that was on a loop in my head for so long, the one that had me convinced that no one would ever love me because I was inexplicably deficit and flawed.
So, my heart is demanding and doing better, it’s doing the work to convince my brain that who I am, as I am, is a ‘big deal’ – and it’s going to keep repeating that mantra until in drowns out the old story and the brain believes it and acts on it without even thinking.
That is the reality that I am creating for myself now, because we all have a choice in the realities that we create and this one is mine.
I AM A BIG DEAL,
and so are you,
and so are we all.
Your Trusted Friend ❤️