I’ve spent the majority of my life living in subjection to a very intense fear of vulnerability. Paralyzed under the strength of it’s reign I would let it affect every aspect of my life, often going to great lengths to avoid all forms of emotional intimacy. I kept others an arm’s length away at all times and built up ironclad walls around the core of myself. I was always on alert; if someone happened to threaten the security of one of those walls, I would immediately become defensive and push away.
But a propensity to self-inflict emotional alienation is not exactly healthy and I think I knew it, even before beginning this journey. I was aware that I was subconsciously sabotaging every relationship in my life, but I didn’t understand myself well enough at the time to know why I was doing it or how I could stop repeating the behavior. See, the funny thing about those metaphorical walls is that they didn’t just keep others from accessing my emotions, they kept me from accessing them as well.
I couldn’t understand what I was feeling because I wasn’t allowing myself to go that deep within my own heart. Through this journey I was able to slowly break down the walls and, in doing so, finally see why I had built them in the first place.
It turns out my fear of vulnerability stemmed from an even deeper fear: rejection. And that fear stemmed from the belief that rejection was all I deserved or would ever earn. So, in the name of self-preservation, I became determined to always be the one to leave first. I was truly convinced that if anyone did stay and got to know me too well, they’d eventually realize that I wasn’t good enough to love. That something was wrong with me. That I was broken.
Well, obviously something was broken, but it wasn’t me; It was the way I felt about me. It was a life-changing moment when I finally understood the magnitude of the difference between the two and realized the reason I thought no one could ever love me was because I didn’t love me. I wasn’t unworthy and I wasn’t broken, I only felt unworthy and felt broken, which made me constantly doubt myself and my own existence. But that’s such a warped and unhealthy view of life!
We are all created with a great capacity to love and accept love in return. Our very existence is based on Love. (I capitalize “Love” here for a reason: the english language only has one word to describe the many different forms of love, so I use a capital “L” to represent the all consuming, all forgiving, unconditional form of love that we were each designed to know, give and receive). The questioning of our existence happens when that idea of Love gets thwarted, which it so often unfortunately does.
Maybe it’s been distorted due to a childhood where there was no true example of capital “L” Love; No example of a Love that is willing to sacrifice or humble itself for the sake of another. Maybe there was only an example of love that was prideful, maybe even spiteful, and contingent on reciprocation. Maybe there was a lack of attention, a lack of warmth, or even a history of abuse.
As a result of these flawed examples of love, we end up feeling broken and damaged; we start to believe that the reason we never received capital “L” Love is because we just weren’t worth it. Then, as we grow older we believe that if we weren’t good enough for Love back then, we’ll never be good enough for Love, ever. We start placing conditions on ourself, and our worth, saying: “When I achieve this goal, maybe then i’ll finally be worthy of love. Then i’ll be happy. Then my life will mean something.”
But your life means something now. You are worthy of love now. The very fact that you are breathing means you are being held up in love, even if you don’t yet feel its presence. You have the ability to become its presence, you just have to start believing in the power you have to change your own story. And you do hold the power here. You have the power to choose happiness and you have the power to give yourself what no one else did: forgiveness, attention, Love.
It starts with acknowledging everything you’ve felt and are currently feeling. If you were never validated as a child, you can start validating yourself now and give yourself permission to feel your own emotions. If you were abused in the past, you can be the one to start treating yourself with the dignity and respect you’ve always deserved, instead of finding ways to self-continue the abuse.
You can be an example to yourself now of the Love you’ve always wanted, but never felt worthy of. You are not broken and you are not unworthy; you only feel unworthy. By changing your mind you can change yourself and become a living example of unconditional Love. Once you start to give yourself and others that Love, you will stop falling for the lies that call you undeserving.
Uppercase or lowercase love: We all have to decide which one we’re going to accept and which one we’re going to give. Once you choose capital “L” Love, your life will never be the same. You will never be the same. You won’t feel broken anymore, you’ll just feel Loved. Loved. With a capital “L”.