We Deserve to Be Loved

"We accept the love we think we deserve."

Let that sink in for a minute.

For so many years I struggled with insecurity and low self-esteem.

I believed I'd never be good enough, pretty enough, thin enough.  I attached my self-worth to what I believed others thought about me.

Almost a year ago I had a mid-life crisis.  The impending reality of turning forty wrecked me mentally and emotionally.  I was depressed about my weight and my looks.  I was angry about all the years I wasted worrying about superficial things.  I didn't achieve all of the goals and accomplishments I set for myself.  I cried almost daily. I had panic attacks.

I thought I was going crazy.  I didn't know I was suffering from depression.

In the midst of the chaos I craved independence.  I wanted to be free and unattached from all the expectations of my husband, children, family, friends and society.  I wanted to be the real me.

But who was I? 

Did I even know myself?  

More importantly, did I love myself enough to find out?

As the months went on I took time to get to know me. I started taking care of my health. I began doing the things I loved. I had to actively decide to stop doing what others expected of me. I delegated parental duties to my husband.  I helped my children learn to do things for themselves.

But it wasn't easy. Guilt quickly reared its ugly head and I felt selfish for taking time for myself.  I fought through days where I could barely get out of bed because I thought I was letting my family down. Depression and anxiety are complicated things.  You don't simply wake up one day a completely different person. I had to choose to work through this.  I had to learn to ask for help.

What was difficult was accepting failure.  I had to be okay with the fact that some days would be difficult. Sometimes things wouldn't go as I planned.  I had to force myself to remember life isn't fair.  I am not perfect.

As I began to evaluate who I was and what was important to me, I realized I had hidden so much of myself from others because I was afraid I couldn't live up to their expectations. I didn't think I fit in. I was terrified of getting hurt. I only showed people what I wanted them to see.  I wanted them to believe I was perfect.  I wanted them to think I could do it all.

I discovered that my insecurity led me into toxic situations.  I endured friendships and relationships with people who treated me poorly.  Over the years, I let people into my life who hurt me because I didn't believe I deserved better.  They came into my life during moments of vulnerability.  They took advantage of my kindness, my willingness to give and give without expectation of anything in return.

And I let it happen. 

Over and over again.

These last eighteen months have taught me so many things.

I know I'm not alone.  So many people struggle with self-worth, anxiety and depression. They believe they'll never be good enough.  They believe they'll never be "normal."  They think things will never get better or that no one cares. I care. If you're reading this and need a supportive friend in your life, I'm your gal.

I know who I am.  I think always knew but I never gave myself permission to just be me.  Life is too short to worry about what others think.

I need to be kind to myself.  Self-acceptance and love are important in changing your frame of mind.  Negative self-talk serves no purpose in my life any longer.

But the most important lesson learned is that I deserve to be loved.

So do you.


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