Ever since I was little, I felt like I was impossible to love. Love and me just didn’t go together. We didn’t sync. All I could see was the negative people said about me, even in a joking way. I never took it as a joke. And every comment about my weight, my hair, my color, my nerdiness, my shyness, they were all reasons I couldn’t be loved. And most of it came from family members but a fair amount also came from classmates and random people in circles around me (like stylists at my grandmother’s favorite salon). I wasn’t lovable because all of the things that made “me” me were undesirable. I wasn’t cool or funny. I had absolutely no talent at all, in anything, and I couldn’t stand it. So I worked hard. I worked so hard, harder than a lot of people. But no matter how hard I worked, I never got even close to the people who had talent. And those around me would say that I was trying to hard or they would laugh at me and tell me to give up.
So, as a child and well into my teenage years I saw myself as loveless. Worthless. I felt like God didn’t make mistakes but if He ever did, I was the one mistake He had made. And this ate away at me. It chipped away at my spirit. You know how people say you get heart-broken? Well, my heart hadn’t been broken, it had been crushed into powder and carried like ashes in the wind, unable to be restored. There was a void there. And truth be told, I didn’t care if it got filled or not. Because I had been underserving of love for so long that I decided that I no longer needed it. I no longer needed to feel, to be happy, to be me. If I had to be here (I cannot tell you how hard I worked to NOT be but it never worked) then I would just exist, a paper doll moving according to the whims of whoever was around me at that time.
I was hopeless and abandoned.
And everything I felt during that period of time every single thing was completely valid. If you have ever felt something similar, your emotions are valid. But one thing I would like you to know, something I have learned is that emotions lie. Yes, my heart may feel some one way but it may be lying. I may be blind to the truth of the matter, unable to see clearly. At this point in my life, I could not love anyone…including myself.
If you have ever felt like that or if you feel that way currently, I just want to let you know that you are seen. You are not alone in this battle. It is tough and it feels like it will never end but I pray that you do not get discouraged. When I was in that mess, my entire life was colored by those emotions. I was distrustful of others and their motives, I played pretend and posed as whoever it was most convenient to be in the moment. And honestly, I never thought anything would change. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). It goes on to say that it will always be so because it cannot be cured or understood by us humans. So why in the world do we continue to tell ourselves to “trust our hearts?” I know that mine was deceitful. I couldn’t recognize the love I did have while it was there. I hope that you don’t have to go through that.
You may be wondering how I got past it. Well, it wasn’t an overnight thing. In fact, it took years if I look back at it. It was my junior year in college, the second semester when I met the people who would change that. And it wasn’t until the first semester of my senior year, when I got to know them well and got to know my God and myself when I realized that I no longer felt that way. I was no longer allowing people to say and do whatever they wanted to me because I felt like an empty shell. When I smiled, it wasn’t pretend but because I was amused or happy. And to tell you the truth, it was completely unintentional. I did not make up in my mind that I was going to be happy or that I was gonna smile and feel love. None of that. In fact, I probably fought against it. These people who kept smiling and finding me on campus and including me for free food (which was my weakness) showed me that it is okay to be myself. By this point, I had to figure out who that was, I hadn’t seen her in so long. And while I had always been a Christian, I had drifted away in my teenage years. They helped me want to get closer to God. And they reminded me that I am loved, even though they didn’t necessarily say it. I wasn’t undeserving of love, as I had always thought. I was worthy of love. And more than that, I could love others.
This may sound pathetic but at this point, I had nothing. There was nothing for me to give and it be genuine. I had to re-learn living like a real person. And it was hard, emotions hurt. Cleaning out the closet of my past really helped me understand that I was not responsible for other people’s opinions. I was loved. And it felt really good.
I am not sure if this is anything like your story or the story of someone you may know, but I pray that if it is, you remind yourself and someone else that they are loved today.