When my husband and I got married, we didn’t invite our friends and family. A lot of people thought we were ashamed, or that I must have been pregnant. But the truth is, we were so happy that we were afraid if anyone was there, they would take that feeling away from our special day. Our wedding day, and the months leading up to it were pivotal in my journey to self-love and understanding that I am worthy of love. This understanding has been so important to both my physical and my emotional health.
Worthy of Love
As a child, I knew that the name Amanda means “Worthy of Love.” But, I never really understood what that meant.
Some important adults in my life did not treat me as if I were worthy of their love.
When I was 6, I was told that I looked pregnant and needed to lose weight. At the age of 10, I was told my arms and legs were too hairy and I should start having them waxed. Then, when I was 13, I was told I needed makeup lessons because the way I did mine made me look like a clown.
Statements like these shaped the person I am today.
- I don’t wear bikinis. Even at my smallest size I couldn’t stand to look at my stomach
- I shave my legs every day. Even in the winter
- To this day, I research makeup tutorials because I am terrified I’m not doing it right
Negative feedback from key people made me believe that I was not worthy of their love, or anyone else’s.
When I was 25 and reflecting upon my life to that point, I realized that many of the negative experiences I’d had stemmed from my own negative opinion of myself.
How I Brought Negative Experiences Upon Myself
- By comparing myself to others, I spent most of my time feeling that I was a disappointment. I spent too much time on social media, seeing people my age accomplishing their goals and living a life I wished I could live. I never spent any time looking at my own feed to see the fun life I was showing the world.
- My own lack of self-confidence showed and attracted negative relationships. In my early 20s, I went through a series of “best” friends and boyfriends who took advantage of my willingness to put them first and who treated me poorly. By viewing myself as unimportant, I allowed these people to view me the same way. As a result, I wound up with my heart broken too many times to count.
Overcoming my Negative Self-Perception
Once I was able to identify my own behaviors that were causing so much of my disappointment, I decided enough was enough. I started to devour self-improvement books. This is when I finally made taking care of my mind, body and soul a priority.
I also made a commitment to myself that my next romantic relationship would be with a man who valued me and treated me with the respect I never thought before that I deserved.
After making this commitment, I agreed to fewer dates. I didn’t have time for anyone who made it clear that they had no respect for me.
When Hubs and I went on our first date, he checked all my boxes, and we’ve been together ever since.
It sounds kind of silly, but I think if we had dated earlier in life, I wouldn’t have been ready for a happy relationship.
Moving on to a Happier Life Worthy of Love
When we got engaged, I started to see the way my self-perception had been holding me back in life. I also came to realize that it wasn’t something I could overcome alone. So, I started seeing a counselor.
My husband has been nothing but supportive, and even comes with me sometimes. A year ago, I was in counseling at least once every week. Now, I go monthly and I’m learning how to cope with my emotions & negative outlook in a healthy way.
My husband and I eloped because we had learned that too much of my happiness was dependent upon other people’s opinions.
I had been in counseling for two months when we got married. By that point we knew that the best way to enjoy our wedding day to the fullest would be to take other people out of the equation.
Since then, I’ve learned (and I’m still learning!) how to feel good about myself and that other people’s opinions don’t define me. I know now why this has been an issue for me in the past, and I’m learning to separate facts from opinions.
If you struggle with self-confidence or relationships in general, I strongly recommend finding a good counselor. I found mine through my company’s Employee Assistance Program. Health insurance providers are another great resource.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in the past year and a half is that I truly am worthy of love. And never to be afraid to ask for help.
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