My whole life I’ve struggled with negative self-esteem and self worth. Certain things from my childhood destroyed my self-image and because I never addressed the wounds or allowed them to heal, they carried over into adulthood and affected every aspect of my life.
I grew up firmly believing that I wasn’t worthy of love and that I never could or would be worthy of anyone’s love. I genuinely believed that my life didn’t matter and ended up with a deep hatred for myself. I battled depression for years and developed a series of self-destructive behaviors and thought patterns that just fueled the depression and lack of self-worth further. Because I had no love for myself, I was incapable of loving anyone else; I felt unworthy of friendships and pushed away those that were closest to me. As I got older, it felt more and more like I was the only one struggling with these issues and so I spent my entire high school career just trying to get through each day without anyone seeing how broken I was.
I discovered the guitar a few months before my high school graduation and through music and songwriting I slowly started to climb out of the depression, but I still refused to acknowledge the scars that I had developed. I was terrified of facing the pain, so I completely circumvented the healing process. I believed that if I buried the hurt deep enough it would eventually disappear. Unfortunately that’s not how life works; the wounds were still there, waiting to resurface. When situations in my adult life triggered a negative memory or emotion from childhood, the wounds would reopen. Each time they did, they would come back bigger and I would be forced to bury them even deeper than before. But eventually the pain got harder to ignore and it prevented me from finding any peace within.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that I was finally able to see just how broken I had become. A series of events occurred that made me realize I was still living life as a wounded child, instead of as a healthy-minded adult. I was still living under the notion that I wasn’t worth love and my self-loathing had grown and manifested into different forms of self-punishment. My lack of self-love affected everything: every decision I made, every friendship I had and every relationship I pursued. I was in a place of desperation and knew that I needed to heal, I just had no idea how to begin.
I knew it was going to take a lot of time and patience to learn to love myself, so I planned to just take it one day at a time and focus my energy completely on healing and growing in self-awareness. Devoting a year to myself seemed like a good place to start and so on September 1, 2012, I began my year of “soul-searching.” I came up with the idea that I would challenge myself to 52 tasks (one a week for an entire year) that would force me to grow as a person. Some of the challenges required me to conquer fears, others required me to do things that promoted positive thinking and a healing environment. I wasn’t able to keep up with doing one challenge a week, so I haven’t finished them yet (and won’t finish within the year) but I plan on finishing and will continue to do each task until all 52 are completed.
It’s been an incredible year; It didn’t take long for me to start seeing subtle changes in the way I was acting and the way I was feeling towards myself. Then once my attitude and mindset started changing, so did the people around me. I started to gain deeper friendships and started saying yes more often which allowed me to meet new people, something I always used to dread. Some of those people I cannot imagine my life without today.
It is so true that you cannot love another person until you truly learn to love yourself. I’m not talking about selfish love, as selfishness itself actually stems from a place of insecurity, but i’m talking about the kind of self-acceptance where you truly know and love who you are and thus are able to love others for who they are. You become content with what you have and where you are in life, even if it’s not where you want to eventually end up.
You can’t give what you don’t have. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way, and am still in the process of learning. I am so hopeful and excited for the future and I know that each positive decision I make that promotes healing brings me one step closer to becoming the woman I want to be. I’ll never be perfect, but I am learning to be OK with imperfection, and I am slowly learning to love myself, flaws and all.
This journey has introduced me to so many amazing and incredible people that struggle with seeing just how amazing and incredible they are. It has sparked in me the desire and passion to help others find their own self-worth, and that’s where the idea for this website and this project started. I hope this site can bring hope to those struggling with seeing their worth and can help give them the strength to start on their own journey towards healing.