• The Hopefulist

Fear of being unlovable

A girl and her dog. Is there anything else you need for a happy life? Not too much. But if you've ever had a fear that only a dog will love you, you are not alone. I've thought so many times throughout my life that "maybe I'm just not lovable". It started with poor self esteem from the time I was a child. I didn't have a lot of confidence and I questioned myself and my worth constantly. My mother made it clear I was not planned. In fact, she pointed out several times that she was forced to go off the pill for a few months because they made you do that back then. And within a month, she was pregnant with me. I'm not sure how a child or adult is supposed to process that information. If you've followed me, you know the relationship I had with her just got worse over the years. Ultimately, she wrote me out of her will, in what I believe, was a final punishment for not being the daughter she thought I should be. My father is still alive but we don't have a close relationship. He doesn't seem to be interested in what is going on in my life. We usually stick to topics like gardening and light stuff. I'm not saying that my parents didn't/don't love me. I know they did/do in their own way. But at least when it comes to my mother, she clearly wanted to make sure I knew how much I disappointed her. Does that mean I am a horrible daughter? What does it mean when you don't feel very loved by your own parents? What does that say about me and the kind of person I am?

I also got married very late in life. As I hit 40 and still wasn't even dating, I began to ponder the question again. Am I unlovable? Is there something wrong with me? Do I repel people? What is it about me? What am I doing wrong? But as I neared 40, I started to make plans that I may just have to go through my journey on earth alone. And I had to make peace with that. It wasn't easy. It was something I had been trying to do my whole life, especially the past 10 years. But 40 seemed like a cut off in my head. I guess if I'm not married by then I will be alone forever so I better start making the best of it. I bought my condo. I got into a group rental at the Jersey Shore. I had my job that I loved and my dog that I loved even more. If I couldn't find someone to love me and make me complete (more on how wrong that concept is later) I would have to tackle it all myself. I took my bike out for long rides when I had the chance. I met up with friends whenever I could. I finally started to embrace life for what it is was instead of what I wanted it to be. And of course, that is when everything changed.

I started dating my now husband and we started planning a life together. It's not about another person though. It's about you. It always has been and always will be. Once I faced my deepest, darkest fear of being alone and potentially unlovable...something shifted. It's a mindset. I started living for the now. For this moment. Instead of waiting for what I thought would make me happy. Instead of thinking it will all get better once this happens or that happens.

Have you ever read a book about someone who had a horrific childhood? And you think to yourself, wow....at least I didn't have it that bad. It's good to get that type of perspective. It's good to realize that there is always someone who has it worse than you. If a little boy grows up getting beat everyday, do you think it's because the boy is unlovable or is it because he has horrible parents? You likely don't put any blame on the boy at all, yet we go through our whole lives thinking one particular thing from childhood makes us virtually unlovable. So, here I am to tell you. You are lovable. We all are. We are born to be loved and to give love. It's one of the main purposes of a good life. But if you don't have the kind of love you think you need, be it a spouse, partner, child, from your parents, siblings, etc. it still doesn't mean you are unlovable. You may have even noticed that those who overcome the greatest obstacles, sometimes move on to doing the greatest things and having massive success. Do you think this is a coincidence? I don't. I think these people were beat down so bad they had to find a reason fast to lift themselves up out of their situation. These people know what is happening to them is wrong and they are willing to do whatever it takes to change things. They don't blame themselves. They know they are a victim of circumstance. They give themself the love they need and deserve. They don't look to others because they have always let them down. Look to yourself. The power of happiness has always been in your hands.

I posted this picture because it shows me happy. You can be this happy too, no matter where you are in your life. You may not be happy with every aspect of your life but you can be happy about some of it. It took me so long to get here. I even had struggles after my marriage with happiness. Because of course since I waited so long to get married I figured I would just automatically be blissfully happy when I was finally married. Nope, didn't work that way. I still had to figure out what I needed most. And once I realized I was worthy of all the love, I was on my way. You are lovable. Have no fear! Do what you love and you will find the love. The trick seems to be once you can finally love yourself, you will find all the love you've ever needed and wanted. I know it's hard. I know we all have certain things we don't like about ourselves. It doesn't mean we are unlovable. It means we have flaws, just like every other human on the planet.

So take this fear and shove it. Start slowly. Start thinking of your past situations with a little more compassion. Be kind to yourself. Even if the people you feel should love you the most don't in the way you want them too, it's okay. You can find love in yourself. And that will lead to more love coming your way. I promise.

A song that has been getting a lot of play right now is "Hero" by Mariah Carey. They are using it to honor health care and essential workers. But listen to the words. It's about the hero being you. You have always been your own hero all along. Stop being afraid to love yourself. You are worth it. Speaking of songs, one I haven't mentioned in a long time. This is Me from the Greatest Showman. This is another song that celebrates the love for yourself flaws and all. Listen to the words...there are so empowering. I even got the title of the song tattooed on my arm. That's how much it resonated with me. And I'm finally happy to be me. This is what I want for you. I'm cheering you on.

It's hump day. Go be your badass self today. Really let go and allow people to see the real you. It's scary at first but gets easier as you continue to do it. Now go make today, your best day yet!

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