Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
For a long time I went about life as though love was conditional, based on my performance, even for my own family. I had to be smarter, prettier, you name it I had to be it in order for the people around me to love me – or so I thought. It has been only of recent (as of last year) that I truly realised; that as I love the people around me, including their flaws, they indeed loved me back. But old habits die hard. Writing a new default setting takes work. Replacing old ways of life (love is conditional) with new (I am lovable just as I am) takes time.
I am challenging myself to let go of the need to justify every aspect of my life to everyone including myself. Below are three areas of my life where I have felt the need to justify myself. My actions. My choices.
No paid work: This is a classic one that whenever I am asked about work I feel like I am having a panic attack. That I have failed the society norm. Most of the time I end up listing EVERYTHING I am doing, basically giving them a minute by minute schedule.
Still single: Every time this one gets brought up it is hard not to remind myself of every flaw I have and compare myself to my sister or the entire female race, for that matter, all the while wondering ‘what’s wrong with me?’
Living at home: This one always comes with a long list of reasons and explanations that by the end of the extensive list they either understand or drop subject.
I no longer want certain topics to be off limits because they hit a raw nerve, I have found it is actually quite freeing sharing experiences and struggles with people. Furthermore, by my sharing they too share their life with me emphasising connectedness rather than loneliness. On reflection it is not the areas of my life that cause me to feel as though I need to explain myself; it is a deeply entrenched feeling of not being enough, of being afraid of being unlovable.
My counsellor gave me a sticky note in one of our first sessions with the affirmation I am lovable just because I am me regardless of my performance.
It is so true. It doesn’t matter whether we study for ten degrees, become fluent in five different languages or not, we are still lovable just the way we are. Love isn’t based on performance, it just is. So do yourself a favour say goodbye to justifying your life, to others and yourself. Let go so you can enjoy what is. It doesn’t mean you stop dreaming and hoping (I do both) it just means you give yourself the freedom to enjoy life in its present moment with no guilt and with no regrets.
I guess I am writing it down as a way to remain accountable to myself that I am releasing the seemingly endless need to justify me and my life. So if we run into each other I hope we can share about life in all its rawness and beauty.