Have you ever struggled with the question, do I deserve love? I think it’s a big one for a lot of us. At our most vulnerable and weak moments, we can look at ourselves and say, I am worthless. I do not deserve love, my own or anyone else’s. I have nothing real to offer, and I don’t even know what makes me happy, so how could I make anyone else happy? We find ourselves acting out in unhealthy ways, just trying to find something that will makes us happy, or to fill the void where love should be. I want to share with you why I didn’t deserve love, and why I thought I needed permission to have it in my life.
Experiences shape us throughout our lives. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The younger we are, the deeper an experience can impact us, since depending on the age, we may not have the emotional maturity to process the experience. I had one of those experiences in the form of sexual abuse as a child. No one knew. I didn’t tell anyone. Embarrassment, shame, and fear of being the one who would get blamed, gripped me. So I said nothing and, as they say, life goes on.
What I didn’t know, and wouldn’t figure out for a really long time, was that my experience shaped not only how I gave love, but how I received it. If I got in trouble it meant I wasn’t loved. If I received praise it meant I was loved. Aside from being rambuncious, loud, and ADD, I was a good kid. I mean, I struggled in school here and there, but over all, I was good. I played sports, was in choir, had a good group of friends, and never had boyfriends. Staying out of trouble was the name and people pleasing was my game.
As long as I received praise, I was loved. That worked for me for a long time. But the older you get, the harder it gets to please people. Inevitably you will disappoint someone. Once I was a “real adult” in my twenties, I started figuring this out. I decided, not consciously, that if I couldn’t receive love by praise, then I didn’t deserve it and therefore didn’t need it.
Do you know what’s really easy? Not needing love when you only feel your feelings at surface level. So who needs love anyways? I prided myself in how strong I was because I never let my feelings get to me. I didn’t cry and rarely showed emotion in front of others. It made me feel weak if I did. Vulnerable was not a thing I wanted to be. When you decide you aren’t worthy of love from others, it becomes that much easier to turn it inwards as well. I didn’t deserve love, wasn’t good enough for love, and I conditioned myself to be okay with it. Look at how strong I am.
Have you ever heard of the Saturn Return? I hadn’t either until last year. When I did a little reading up on it, my mind was blown. The jist of it is, the Saturn return is an astrological transit that happens when the planet Saturn returns to the same place in the sky that it was when you were born. This generally takes around 29 years. When this happens people will report something major shifting in their lives around their late twenties to early thirties. Basically shit goes crazy for a few years. And holy hell, did that happen to me.
Something in me did begin to shift. I was tired. My soul felt fractured. I didn’t feel whole. I longed for the internal chaos to quiet down. Pleaded for it. Finally, I decided to start therapy. All of the pain I had gone through, and that I also caused, needed to make sense somehow. It needed to serve a purpose. Over the course of about two years, I made painful headway. Putting broken parts back together is never easy, and afterwards it never quite fits back together the same way. Learn to be okay with that.
I didn’t deserve love for a long time because of one major reason: I didn’t believe that I deserved it. Yes, awful things can happen to us. Painful, hurtful, life altering things. We cannot control the things that life throws our way. But we can control how we react. We can control the internal dialogue. If you are waiting for someone to give you permission to deserve love, here it is. You deserve it. All of it. In all of it’s soul warming glory, you deserve it. What I want most for you though, is to find it in yourself. There will be good days and bad, but you can love yourself through each.
I let outside circumstances tell me whether or not I deserved love. I had a lot of anger over it. But through all the hard work I did to find a purpose in the pain I went through, I found this: worthiness. Worthiness in my broken past, worthiness in my healed present, and worthiness in my hopeful future.
Tell me, do you struggle with feeling like you deserve love at times? Comment or shoot me an email, cause I have a lot to say about how much love you deserve.