A few nights ago, I decided to go through my headache of a bottom drawer in a storage unit in my room that was filled with paperwork and books from the previous year.
As I was skimming through everything, one book, in particular, caught my eye.
Staring at its cover, tears immediately filled my eyes. I could remember, so vividly, the day I bought the book.
That day was sunny and the birds chirped with a hopeful song. My emotions resembled the complete opposite. My heart was a heavyweight dragging through my chest, my eyes swollen with salty tear residue lingering. With the last bit of strength I felt I had left, I handed the cashier at Barnes and Noble my purchase. One that I was able to choose in a matter of moments, simply for its title.
“You’re Going to Be Okay”, by Holley Gerth
I had no idea what the book was about, or what it entailed. But I was captivated by the title. Those simple words were everything at that moment. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
And so, with just the tiniest bit of hope beginning to break out of a cocoon nestled in my heart, I drove off, giving my new purchase the faintest of smiles.
Now, nothing majorly upsetting had occurred in my life. No. Nothing that would make you sympathize with me and pet my head and tell me that this hurt would eventually come to an end, or at least minimize.
No. In fact, I had hidden this sadness from everyone for that exact reason. Nothing had happened to make me feel that way. It was a battle I’d been fighting ever since I could remember. And it was slowly defeating me.
I hated myself.
And by hate, I mean loathe. Everyone else was so much better than me in every single way. I had no purpose, and I was a failure and a disappointment. My face was too ugly, my hips too wide, my belly too chubby, my legs too muscular, my hair too thin, my hands too wrinkled, my nose too pointed. I wasn’t smart enough, I spoke too often, I sought way too much attention.
The list went on, and on, and on, and on, and on.
I remember late nights, clutching my knees to my chest, sobbing into my pillowcase to stifle the sound. I didn’t want to be Danielle Axelrod anymore. I wanted to be someone else or no one at all.
I remember looking in the mirror and disgustingly shouting things at myself.
I remember scrolling through my phone endlessly, looking at pictures of happy couples and wondering why I just wasn’t enough for someone else.
I remember changing my appearance in order to gain acceptance from others. A boy once told me he didn’t like lipstick, so I stopped wearing it. But the thing is, I like wearing lipstick. It makes me feel bold. But I didn’t dare wear it for a while, because I just wanted him to like me. Spoiler alert- I still was never enough for him.
I sought acceptance from others and felt surprised and angry when rejection kept coming my way. I sought happiness from people and places that only brought a temporary joy that soon faded to a bitter, empty feeling.
I wasn’t who I thought I would be.
I never felt good enough.
And I felt that I never would be.
That today, breaks my heart.
As I began to open my new book, I started a journey with Jesus to become more complete and whole in my self-image. Of course, the book happened to be published by a Christian author, and the pages were filled with the exact hope and reassurance I needed to become whole again.
Holley’s words began to weave their way into my heart, as the pages of the book continuously encouraged me to slow down, rest in God’s truth, and develop strength from my trials and uncertainties. The chapters revealed tactics on how to face insecurities and how to battle against the destructive thoughts from the enemy with the Word of God. The more I read, the more my perspective shifted, and my victim mentality became a motivation to truly grasp who God said I was, not what the world perceived me to be.
So, although I have a long way to go, I am thankful that I am not where I was a year ago. And to that girl, along with countless other girls who experience this same self-destructive doubt & self-loathing, I say:
To the girl who needs to hear this,
I know. I know how much it hurts. I know how badly you want to crawl out of your skin and find a new body to take over. I know you think you are completely worthless and that you will never amount to what you once thought you would. I know it feels like it will never get better for you. Oh, but my dear, you are so wrong.
You may not be able to see any sort of light at the end of a dark self-loathing tunnel right now- but I am living proof that it’s there. You see, your worth doesn’t come from others. It doesn’t come from Instagram likes, or success in your workplace, or a million friends. It will never be found in anyone or anything on this Earth.
It comes from above.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully & wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13-14
God created you in His image. He knew exactly what He was doing when He formed you in your mother’s womb. Essentially, to hate yourself is questioning God’s masterpiece of who He created you to be.
You may not feel beautiful, but you are. You are in so many ways. Beauty is not just an outward appearance. Beauty exudes from within. The more you begin to pour out your heart to the Lord and to others, you will begin to feel your purpose unravel. You will see an infinite potential that was placed in you from day one and you will begin to turn your focus away from what anyone else thinks. What truly matters, is what your Heavenly Father thinks.
Confidence will manifest on you like never before, and you will be able to know that you were created for a beautiful purpose. Who cares what anyone else says? This life you live is not for them. It is for Christ.
Stop focusing on receiving love, and start focusing on giving love. You have so much to give, you just don’t even realize it yet. Start small, and you will see the hand of God work on your life.
There are going to be days that are harder than others, but remember who you are IN CHRIST, and not who you are to this world.
And most of all- stop comparing yourself!
You were not made to be anyone but you. Accept that! You are uniquely you, and only YOU can fulfill the will of God in your life. If you were someone else, you wouldn’t be able to. So embrace your quirky self, and remember that you have a specific purpose that NO ONE ELSE CAN ATTAIN BUT YOU!
Little by little, day by day, you must choose to believe this.
Turn to the One who is able to make all things new, right where they are at.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18
This is the start of your beautiful journey.
You’re going to be okay.
Your future self.