I have always felt undeserving of love, primarily because I viewed myself as flawed. I initially believed that if I could perfect myself, I could make myself worthy of love. My attempts at perfection took on a variety of forms; all ended in failure. My inability to achieve perfection resulted in my acceptance of the fact that I would never be lovable because I was permanently flawed, and no one would want to love someone like me.
I understand where I learned to equate being lovable with being perfect. I grew up bombarded with the message that imperfection was unacceptable and that love had to be earned (and could therefore be lost). Here’s the problem, no one in my life is presently speaking that message; I’m choosing to cling to an idea that is unfounded.
What if “imperfect” and “lovable” are two sides of the same coin, a coin that represents the essence of being human? To be human is to be lovable. Period. The beauty of this idea is that being human is a property that can neither be earned nor lost. On the flip side, to be human is to be imperfect. Period. There is nothing one can do to evade this reality, either. Perfection will always be unattainable.
If being imperfect is an inevitable part of being human, and being human automatically makes one lovable, maybe being imperfect isn’t so terrible after all. Perhaps it’s a quality to be embraced? Being imperfect can be conceptualized as proof that one is truly human and therefore truly lovable.
How might life change if this perspective was internalized? Taking risks would be less terrifying, as failure would no longer be associated with being unlovable. Energy once spent chasing the moving target of perfection could be channeled into living authentically and loving deeply. I could relax knowing that the most precious quality to be had (being worthy of love) is already mine, and has always been mine. Reactions to perceived imperfections would also look dramatically different. Upon noticing a flaw, I could celebrate “the presence of that which makes me human and therefore lovable.” Situations that once triggered feelings of inadequacy could actually make me feel especially worthy of love instead of worthless.
Resisting love requires a ridiculous amount of energy and always results in unbearable loneliness (when the option of feeling connected exists.) Feeling unloved is paralyzing whereas feeling loved is empowering. Love has been extended to me. Maybe it’s time to allow it to empower me, imperfections and all.