There’s something I never want to forget.
The more I reflect on my journey to happiness, my blog, and the impact I want to have on people whose paths cross mine, the more I hear the words in my head, “Don’t forget where you came from; don’t forget who you once were.”
I feel tugging on my heart to share my bare, honest, vulnerable truth. And I’m honestly hesitant/anxious because I don’t at all want people to think less of me or view me as weak. But it’s important to me that I share the dark times of my life, which I still experience some days, so you know that it’s possible to rise above it and come out on the other side.
Just a few years ago, I was a mess. I was broken in every sense of the word. Sometimes I think back and get embarrassed that people likely remember me as that girl, but right now, I wish you would’ve known me. You would see how different I am today compared to then.
I was so unhappy. I was so lost. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I felt isolated, forgotten, easily replaceable, and unimportant. Every rejection I experienced – from a boy I liked not feeling the same to a lower grade than expected on a paper – made me feel so worthless. I took every single “no” and “not yet” personally and internalized them as a reflection of my value. I had no sense of self, no anchor, no faith or trust that life would work out for me. I didn’t feel like I would ever find happiness, peace, or success, and I don’t think I really even felt like I deserved it.
Those emotions and thoughts extended into my body image. I felt hideous – truly so ugly. I hated my teeth. I hated my differently shaped ears. I hated my small boobs, my toes, my smaller upper lip. I hated my narrow nose, how wide my ribs and shoulders were, and my forehead. I was disgusted and ashamed of so many little things about myself. I felt like no one would love me because of my physical appearance but also because of how shattered I was on the inside. Sure I hoped for it, but I didn’t think it would ever actually happen.
I felt embarrassed to take up space. I felt like an imposter in my college classes and on campus. I felt like any compliment or praise I received, or any good thing that happened in my life, was because people just didn’t know how worthless I was. They just didn’t know me well enough. In this moment, I feel every ache and every bit of shame that I did back then.
About two years ago, I was reading a Christian self-help book called “You’re Already Amazing” by Holley Gerth. In one of the chapters, she prompted me to write down the lie my heart still hears about myself. Do you know what I wrote?
“You are trash. Trash. No matter what degree you get, how many people you help, what prestigious role you hold in your lifetime, you are nothing. Nothing more than your past. You are trashy and broken. You may be confident and happy now, but you won’t be next week. You will be broken again. That is your default place; you are your default.”
I finished writing that on the page, read it over, and just burst into tears. I was trying so hard to change, to feel better, and to take control of my life. I cried then and I cry now because that’s the inner dialogue I was feeding myself. I cried because I know that in stripping away the facade, the smile, the fake confidence, and the accomplishments, that’s truly what I thought of myself. Everything I felt, thought, or did was filtered through that lens, which allowed those feelings of self-hate and depression to become cyclical and thrive.
I lived every single day believing that lie just a few years ago. But today? Today I am changed.
I pulled myself out of the raging waters that were drowning me and clawed my way to happiness. I now use God’s truth – that I am loved, valued, perfect just as I am – as my inner dialogue. God purposefully and intentionally stitched together every cell in my body, so who am I to say I’m not worthy? My daughter is half of me – I would never in a thousand years want her to view one single fiber of her being through that light. I now appreciate and love who I am and what I look like, because it truly takes less energy to accept yourself than to hate yourself. Listen, friends. Do you want to feel freedom? Let go of all the lies pinning you down and holding you back, and you will fly!
Today I wake up excited, grateful, and HOPEFUL for everything I’m able to do and for all of my blessings. I know my life has a sense of direction; I feel a steady, calm sureness about it. I wake up with God on my side, who is excited to lead me through my life. I know He has plans for me beyond my wildest dreams; I know in my soul that some of the greatest moments of my life haven’t even happened yet!
Why I Refuse to Forget
I understand the damage that a broken soul can yield. I understand that we’re all trying our absolute best, and that we’re so flawed, fickle, and fragile. I know that we experience more pain in this life than we ever should, and I know that it’s nearly impossible to spread love from a heart of shattered pieces. For that, I am more forgiving, more nurturing, and far less judgmental. Life is messy, and I won’t for one second pretend that I have it all figured out.
There are days I revert back to that old belief; 24 years is a long time to believe something. But most days? Most days I live loved. And that allows me to love others in a way I never knew possible.
I want you to know that I’ve lived in dark pits of despair, depression, irritability, and worthlessness, and even if you’ve never experienced a life other than that, you CAN. I won’t ever forget my feelings of worthlessness because through them, I can relate to others living their lowest lows.
I challenge you, friends, to write down a lie you’ve believed about yourself for far too long. Challenge that belief every day. Write down reasons it’s NOT true. Repeat, over and over, the opposite until you begin to believe that it is indeed a lie. You are worthy. You are loved. You are seen. ❤