I have always judged how worthy I am of love.

What this really means is: I have always judged how worthy I am of my own love.

I feel like I’m in kindergarten while writing this. Like I’m working through the mist of a 5-year-old’s naiveté.

I know that grownups know better. They understand that everyone is worthy of love, but from my perspective, from where I’ve stood for over 50 years, I am only worthy of love if I have recently taken action that netted successful results. Yeah. I know. That doesn’t sound like love.

True love is unconditional. Yes. I’ve heard that and I feel that way toward my partner and kids, but apparently, at an early age, I was taught to self-judge my worthiness of love. At least that’s what I came up with during a morning walk with Janet and our dog.

I had just remarked to Janet about how I’ve been feeling more love for myself, when I caught the internal backlash.

Some part of me said, “Well, what have you accomplished to deserve that?”

Holy shit! I heard it so clearly. This shameful sentiment has always been there, but because of the emotional work I’ve done lately, things that used to feel like hidden imperatives, like internal pushes, like unspoken directives, have become uncloaked, they’ve stepped out of the fog and spoken clearly, allowing me to identify them, to discern the good from the bad, the old tape from the new, the angel from the devil.

And here was the little devil himself claiming that love had to be earned.

I have to say that this feels just like what has been recently happening in our country. More and more people have been stepping out of the murky fog, into plain sight and speaking their anti-love sentiments. I didn’t intend to comment on our country, but perhaps this is why many of us are triggered.

Listening to people speak so strongly from such negative viewpoints forcibly reveals our own love-less internal voices, and it hurts like hell.

So, how did I combat my internal bad guy this time? I told Janet what he said so we could discuss it. This removed the power of secrecy and allowed for healthy analysis of the misinformation.

I also realized that there is no need to fight because I am in charge. I created the voice of the bad guy to keep myself in check. It’s up to me to recognize that his trophy-based love system is self-defeating, and banish him from my mind. Well, that sounds dramatic. I’m sure his death will be more like an old habit: He’ll slowly die.

Plus, because I have recently become very aware of my self-love moments, I have a newfound confidence that I’ll soon be able to consistently feel love for myself. Just like a 5-year-old, I have to gain experience in order to have knowledge of self-love. I believe that the more I have experienced loving myself, the easier it will be for me to reach out and experience it again.

So, thank you uncloaked bad guy. I see you and hear you and I will appreciate you even as you fade away, for your uncloaking has ushered in a new era for me, an era in which I love myself. And I will accomplish more than I ever have in the presence of Love.