You would probably be surprised to know that I struggle mightily with self-esteem. I didn’t really understand this about myself before I started counseling, but now I know that feelings of worthiness and self-love do not come naturally for me. It is a complex issue rooted in deep in my heart, and it’s been there for a long, long time.
It is easy for me to be loving and supportive of others. I see so much beauty and light in my friends, in people I admire, in my family, and even in strangers. I am so happy for them and feel they are so capable of greatness and deeply deserving of love and support. Even people who have treated me badly have my sincere kindness. It’s just the way I am.
Turn the tables, however, and it is a completely different story. Some of my deepest held fears are that I am unworthy of love, stupid, and a failure. It is why food has been a comfort in the past and it is why I have scars on my skin. It’s not a pretty picture, I know.
Yet now, I am trying to speak to my darkest, knottiest places so that the light can start to creep in. The wise part of me, my keen and brilliant mind, knows that the narrative of the unworthy, unlovable girl is a lie. It is something I tell myself to keep myself from joy. I do this because I believe if I experience joy and I lose it, which is bound to happen, it will hurt more than never having had it in the first place.
It is a fearful child that keeps me locked away from falling in with comfort and love. It is a child that has been deeply hurt. It is a girl who is afraid of losing love, of being alone, or worse; rejection.
I need to come up with a plan for how to love and honor this child inside while also taking over the reins of control and charging boldly toward the light. I need to find a way to let her know that I hear her and I understand her, but teach her to be brave and trust that even if I get hurt, love is still worth the risk.
I don’t want to fight so hard against this anymore. I don’t want to rage against myself. I just want peace. I want to soothe the parts of me that hurt and still move forward toward the dreams and goals I know I am worthy of.
There is a softening that is happening inside me. There is a release of a hard fought battle. There is an acceptance that although I have hurt parts, I don’t have to live in fear or shame. It is okay to have been hurt, but it is loving to forgive and move on. I can be both reverent of my experiences and the things that have made me who I am and also brave in creating the reality and future I want to create.
I can hold both dualities at the same time. I can be tender and strong. I can be fragile and brave as hell. I can be scared and still charge into the unknown because that is where the treasure lies, after all. I can create time and space for grief and recovery, and then sturdy myself with love and compassion to press on. I can be afraid of the loss and choose to go forward anyway.
I can be my own hero. I can write my own ending. I am choosing courage. I am choosing grace. I am choosing love. I always do. It’s just this time, I am choosing it for myself, toward myself.
Give ‘Em Hell