Today I was faced with the question, “What is a belief you have because of your mental illness? Do you still believe it?”
Throughout my recovery, I have been different versions of myself, depending on the varying degrees of my symptoms. These symptoms build a foundation for my belief system. Some beliefs have been delusional. Some beliefs were dark and threatening. Some were euphoric.
As time passes, so do most of these beliefs. There is one belief I cannot seem to shake no matter how hard I try.
I am unlovable.
This is not about any lack of love in my life. The root of this belief stems from feeling I am so inherently broken and that makes me incapable of truly feeling the love others give me. There is this brick wall love cannot seem to break through.
Logically, I understand my mental illness is not my fault. The truth is I am wired differently. With my condition, I have inherited certain deficits. It is my responsibility to be proactive in diminishing the deficits that are within my power to do so. It is equally my responsibility to allow myself to accept when the deficits may not be repairable.
Every type of unhealthy relationships I have been a part of has had one common denominator: me.
At some point I have to stop pointing my finger at everyone else. I need to take a long hard look at myself. Maybe the cold hard truth is that it’s not them, it’s me.
This deficiency is two fold: I don’t know how to properly care for someone else and I don’t know how to properly care for myself.
Something good and beautiful comes my way and all I can do is stand there blinking repeatedly at it.
I don’t think “unlovable” is about standing outside in the rain, crying that no one loves me. I think it’s the complete opposite. I have all these people in my life who do love me and I have no idea what the hell to do with it. I imagine this message continually flashing across my brain: INPUT ERROR. Is this a deficit I can learn to overcome?
I have to convince myself on a daily basis that perhaps just because a belief feels real and true doesn’t necessarily make it so. If I was this robotic being incapable of being loved by those around me, would they still continue to love me? Can I even trust my perspective at this point?
What I’m figuring out is that all roads lead back to me. I’m not sure I have any tangible evidence as to why I would be unlovable by those in my life. By no means am I saying I’m perfect, because I have flaws just like everyone else.
That’s it! I have flaws just like everyone else. Are these flaws so insurmountable that no one could love the essence of who I am? Not really.
Self-love is a process. It’s an ability and not a given.
I must learn how to not hate my perceived flaws. I need to practice the same level of patience, compassion, and acceptance I would give anyone else. I must learn to love my quirks because they plant the seed of who I am growing to become. Then I can take down my wall one brick at a time to let others in.
This is by no means easy. It is not my intention to oversimplify the process. Changing a lifetime of negative beliefs is an ongoing process. Opening my eyes to other possibilities can and will feel daunting.
INPUT ERROR can be overridden or rebooted. It’s about choice. I can stay where I am, which is clearly not working out so well for me, or I can forge another path. I will never know unless I try.