One day, I got very very tired. Not regular “I need sleep” tired, but the kind of tired that leaves you frustrated and exhausted and wondering how people can be such boneheads.
My whole life I have made it okay for people. I’ve made their bad decisions okay, I’ve made their mockery and teasing acceptable, I have made their insecurity my problem to fix. But one day I woke up feeling the same way I have for the last 10 years, and I decided something had to change.
So I decided to conduct an experiment: if I stopped making everything okay for everybody, if I stopped putting bandaids on gashes and giving morphine for headaches, if I stopped giving advice to strangers and giving my heart to people who can’t be a good friend to me, would I still be loved?
It’s been 4 months, and I can say I’m a different person since that day. I’m wiser, more honest, more passionate and risky and brave. That experiment has done nothing but good things in me.
The truth is that there were some friendships I said goodbye to, and some that walked away. But I also found that when you draw that courage out of yourself, that honesty and vulnerability, there are people that come out of the woodwork, drawn to that thing in you. Those friendships are not abundant, but when you find them they are truly golden.
I had to learn how to say no. I had to learn how to get mad, and admit that I was. I had to learn how to be vulnerable with people who deserved to share in my life, the people who earned my trust.
I had to learn that I matter.
When I live like I matter, my world changes. How other people see me matters less, and how I let people treat me matters a whole lot more. You wake up one morning and discover that you’re really worth loving, worth sacrificing for, worth working for, and your life is never the same.
And why am I telling you all this? Well, so are you.
You’re worth the effort.
You’re worth the sweat, worth the awkward pauses, worth driving 45 minutes to sit in church with, worth getting a job to pay for the date. You’re worth cancelling plans with a friend to come to your house because you feel alone.
You don’t have to make it okay for people to love you.
I hope you learn that.
And if you don’t believe me, do the experiment yourself. It works.