Love Yourself

We can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there.

Love YourselfTonight, we sat and watched one of my most favorite movies — The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Even though I’ve watched this movie several times, it’s still very hard for me.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, I won’t give too many details here and ruin the movie for you, but I will share one aspect of the movie that’s very difficult for me. As many of you know, I have a history of  being sexually abused, and this movie tackles this issue head-on.

In the movie, one of the main characters spends some time in a mental hospital after suffering a mental blackout. On his way out of the hospital, his doctor tells him, “We can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there.”

There are many people inside the secular community that have a very brutal past. The more I talk with people, the more I realize that no matter how bad I had it in the past, there is always someone who had it worse than me. I’ve had my heart broken many times by the stories people have shared. Even though it hurt like hell, I felt fortunate that they were comfortable enough to tell me about their struggles. In most cases, I’ve found great strength behind their words. They’re no longer held captive. They’ve tapped into the inner strength that everyone has – but not everyone has the ability to find.

It’s true that we can’t choose where we come from, but the most important thing for people like us to remember is we do have a choice.  It’s very easy to say, “That which does not kill us only makes us stronger,” but to find and tap into that strength is a different story altogether. It’s so easy to sit back and wallow in our own self-pity, but that doesn’t get us anywhere in life. We find our real strength when we refuse to allow our self-pity to get the best of us. I know it’s easy to sit here and type all of this, and I know these words are useless if I don’t give some insight on how to overcome our self-pity.

I’m not a psychologist, nor do I have any formal training in psychology. I’m an abuse survivor who can only share what worked for me over the years. First, one of the hardest lessons for me to learn was that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t do anything to deserve the treatment I received. Realizing this was a huge step for me. I walked around for years with a great amount of guilt, wondering what I did to deserve the abuse. But I hadn’t done anything – my abuser was the sadistic fuck!

Second, I had to learn that I deserve to be treated well. I deserve to be loved and respected. My abuser stripped me of any hope of truly being loved. He made me feel worthless, less than nothing. I truly felt no one loved me, especially God! If he truly loved me, he wouldn’t have let these things happen to me. You deserve to be loved and respected. You deserve to be adored. You’re worth it!

And finally, learn to love yourself. Not in the Justin Bieber kind of way, but really work on loving you. You can’t expect to work through the self-pity if you don’t love who you are, just as you are. You’re going to make mistakes, but whatever you do, don’t let those mistakes determine your self-worth.

You’ll still have bad days. You’ll still (to use a Christian word) backslide. It’s completely normal. What is NOT normal is to stay in that backslidden state. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to find a professional to talk with and get more guidance than I could ever offer here.

You are worth it. You have value. You deserve happiness. You deserve to be loved, and you deserve the very best that life has to offer. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

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