One of the things that my therapist introduced me to this last winter was Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It’s hokey and kind of obvious but… it works.
After a few months of visiting her very regularly, I was starting to feel better. About life, myself, my children and marriage and goals. I was still struggling with my own sense of self-worth. I know that a lot of people can’t see it, but one’s opinion of oneself is rarely based in reality, and so, I still doubted myself. My ability to be loved, truly, for who I was.
I’m not sure why I felt that I was unworthy of love, but once we figured that out – and it was a hard thing for me to realize, that I really and truly felt that I was unworthy of love made me really upset for about a week – things clicked into place.
One evening, after an argument with Steve (caused by his insisting that I had to clear my head and start seeing things for what they are – me, wonderful, for instance) that had upset me because I felt (again) misunderstood, I sat by myself in the dark on our front porch. I watched the sky and the trees and listened to the airplanes pass overhead. I thought about the night I spent pacing the floor and how that night I realized that there was a flame inside of me. A tiny, almost suffocated flame.
The more I thought about that flame, the more I realized that it had the potential to grow as large and beautiful as I would let it. Here I was, after 29 years of life, just now discovering that there was something special and wonderful and beautiful inside of me.
It dawned on me that the flame was my spirit, put there by God (or Creator or Conductor of the Universe) and God wanted me to fan the flame. God wanted me to shine. So here I am, holding in my hands my family and friends and health and I’m so busy worrying about the fact that maybe I don’t deserve it all that it never once occurred to me that God would never give that flame to an undeserving person. And everyone has that flame inside of them – it is one’s ultimate power.
I’ve always looked at my children as a gift, hand delivered to me, by God. They are on their own journey, guided for a short while by me, but I have taken so much from their short lives. I have learned so much from them. It stands to reason that my children were not the only gift given to this world, but that every child is as profound of a gift as they are. And we were all children. We are all gifts.
That was the night that everything changed. My heart exploded because of course I am deserving of love – because I am capable of love. Because I am alive. Because I am loved by God.
Everyday, I would pull out my red ringed journal and write, over and over again, I am worthy of love. I filled a page each day with the reasons – the real reasons – of why I deserve love. Not because I am a good wife or mother or friend or because I take care of my body, but because I have the flame inside of me that burns and burns and burns.
And so, here I am, months later, still writing in my (almost full) journal a few times a week or whenever I start to feel anxious. And it’s so corny and wonderful and simple, but oh, it works.
Someone asked me on Sunday if I was upset about turning 30. No, I said. Because I have every thing that I could ever want. I’m married to my best friend, I have my children, I have my health. I partied my way through half of my 20’s and then settled down. I’ve run two marathons, four half marathons and raised over $10,000 for charities. I have no regrets about the past decade. The crazy thing is, I did all of that without really accepting how wonderful I am.
Imagine what I’ll do now.