Yesterday, a close friend of mine said to me that she didn’t think she deserved to be loved because she was “broken.”
Those words made my heart ache, both because I care about her and I’d never want her to feel this way, and also because I used to be in her shoes. I used to think that because of my struggles and my pain, I wasn’t worth the work others would have to put in to be there for me. I didn’t feel like I deserved friends or romantic partners because I didn’t want my pain to become their burden.
I believe each person that enters into and leaves our lives will teach us a lesson, or more than one lesson. Several different people have taught me over the last few years that relationships, both romantic and platonic, are about supporting one another through thick and thin. Whether you’re on top of the world or struggling to get out of bed, the people in your life are there to encourage you and support you every step of the way.
Life isn’t easy, and it doesn’t pretend to be. The moment we begin to put our lives on the right track, something comes by and redirects us or completely derails us. Rarely do we make it to our destination on the pre-planned course from start to finish. But rarely is the real beauty in our original destination. Life finds a way to show us beauty in unexpected places on our detours, or with a completely different destination better than we ever imagined.
Two years ago, if you’d told me about my life today and who I have become as a person, I’m not sure I would’ve believed you. I spent the last few days in Chicago on a business trip, and while I was there, I had some free time. So I downloaded Lyft, ordered a car, hopped inside, and I met my brother downtown for a cup of coffee and a chat. Once we parted ways, I strolled a few blocks over to pick myself up some supper and I ordered a second Lyft to meet my coworkers elsewhere in the city. Alone. My anxiety used to prevent me from doing all of these things; I used to battle overwhelming fear walking down Michigan Avenue at noon alongside my own family. I have my friends, my family, my therapist, and myself to thank for all of my progress over the last few years.
We are all broken. Some of us started our journey in this world with a few missing pieces, while some of us have sustained fractures along the way. We are all dealt different cards to play from, but none of us are dealt a perfect hand. Being “broken” or struggling with something doesn’t make you unlovable or unworthy. It makes you complex, fascinating, beautiful, and inherently human.