There is something to be said for self-worth.

I have known this, instinctually, for years. People have told me I should feel worthy enough to receive my own love and kindness and self-care, but I have rarely believed them. I doubt their nonchalance, their confidence.

I have believed – as many have – that I deserve every tear, every bruise, every broken bone and every broken promise in my life. It is not easy to embrace a tenderness so foreign for so long.

And I have thought, for years, that I was strong enough to brace that embrace and hold the walls together on my own. Because who could love someone who deserves such suffering?

It took time and patience, but I finally cracked the walls of my insecurity and allowed myself to feel everything – all the pain and the anguish and the joy and the bliss – together, unseparated, uncontrollable. It was raw, it was beauty, and it was real. I thought, miraculously, I was healed.

In the midst of my triumph, though, there were others around me suffering. Acute, severe suffering that I couldn’t explain, couldn’t rationalize because in my eyes they didn’t deserve to feel so broken.

How can you be so happy when there are those you love so sad? 

In my mind, I deserved the darkness felt by my friends and family. Why was it that I was being saved when those I loved were suffering? I felt paralyzed by fear. I felt powerless. I still, sometimes, feel guilt.

But my emotions were already unleashed, and there was nothing I could do to pen them back inside my fortress of fear. I learned – and am still learning – how to feel vulnerable and let myself be caught by the support I was once too blind to see.

There are moments that will sweep you off your feet, bring you to your knees, or make you weep with abandon and emotion. There are both good days and bad days. I once thought that I must weather the waters and set my sails alone, that I could rely upon no one to shelter me from the storms. But I slowly figured out that I couldn’t always rely upon myself, either, to love and cherish my own soul as needed.

In this new wave of insecurity and vulnerability – feeling powerless to guilt, anxious for the return of calm – I have been blessed by an overwhelming flood of goodwill and support. And I have been so very grateful, more grateful for friendship than I have ever been in my life. Sometimes I still think I don’t deserve such care.

But there have been friends and family and mentors who have reached out to help me regain my balance and fight to keep giving the support to those I’m reaching out to, constantly. It’s all a cycle of compassion, this I truly believe.

Now that I am a willing participant in this cycle, I value the strength and vulnerability of each person. Each and every soul deserves to be supported, just as each and every soul strives to support those she loves.

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