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You Are Worthy: Love And Other Lessons

Celebrating the lessons of living and loving

BY Pauline Katethya

Jan 20, 2023, 10:40 AM

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Life has always been unpredictable. If there was a manual on how to navigate it, then I bet everyone would be living a great life. Unfortunately, you come to this world unprepared. No one teaches you how to overcome the challenges you come across. You are a baby, then you are suddenly an adult who is supposed to have a job, somewhere to live, pay taxes, remember your wifi password and have your life together. 

And because most African parents think being a provider equals being a good parent, you start navigating life alone at such a young age. But as Alanis Morissette says, 'you live, you learn'. You love, you learn. You grieve, you learn. You bleed, you learn. You cry, you learn. Here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way. 

There Comes A Time 

There is a time for everything and there comes a time for goodbye and endings. There comes a time when everything we held tightly slowly slips away from us. There comes a time when we will say goodbye to the things and the people we love the most. A time when we will move from everything and everyone we thought we knew. 

Some dear relationships and friendships will end. Some job opportunities we treasured will go down the drain. As they say, it’s important to live in the moment because you never know when the last time to experience someone or something is. Sometimes, in the beginning, lies the ending. 

You Never Know How To Grieve Until You Grieve 

No one tells you life will be a continuous journey of losses. People you hold dear will die. And it’s always surreal because yesterday you talked to them and today, they are gone forever. Nothing will make sense. You will tear in so many places and feel as if you are experiencing another death

You will realize how shallow the words, “I feel your pain or I’m praying for your family in these hard times” are, because nothing, not even prayers seems to ease the pain in the pits of your soul. Death uproots you from everything you thought you knew and the ground that always felt so stable.

You realize that you will always live with your hands outstretched for things that are no longer there as Chimamanda says in Notes on Grief.

You Are Not Responsible For Everything That Happens To You 

Growing older makes you realize that you are not responsible for other people's reactions and actions. You realize that the world can be a cold cruel place where humans break each other's souls and go on with life as if they’ve just taken tea and bread. 

You realize that their projections have nothing to do with you and those who are not gentle with themselves will be reckless to you. You realize that not everyone will see you or accept you unconditionally. 

You stop carrying a lot of weight that doesn’t belong to you and the pain of shame and guilt. You realize you are an imperfectly perfect human being and people who abused or mistreated you did so because that’s the only way they knew how to love. 

Your Parents Loved You In Their Best Way Possible

At some point in life, you stop blaming your parents for not loving you enough when you needed them the most. You stop resenting your father for all the times you waited for him to come home but he never showed up.

You stop blaming your mother for settling for less and staying in a dysfunctional marriage. You understand that she did her best to provide for you and your siblings because that’s how she knew how to love you. 

You learn that broken families barely focus on love and happiness but on survival. No one says I hear you, I see you or love you because they are busy making sure you are alive. You learn that they inherited shame, abuse, violence, and lovelessness and that’s what they pass down to their children. 

You stop looking at your mother like a bad mum but a wounded girl who looked for love in the wrong places. You see her as a vulnerable young woman who believed the first man who said he loved her. 

She never knew how to love or be emotionally available, because she never experienced that. With time, you accept your parents for not being the caregivers you needed and appreciate them for the ways they took care of you. 

You Are Worthy Of Love And A Beautiful Life 

Growing up, we were always taught how to love our parents, and our neighbours but no one ever taught us how to love ourselves or how to forgive ourselves. And we hardly talk about the price we pay for not loving ourselves unconditionally.

When you don’t love yourself, you put others first, you abandon yourself, you love others from a place of fear and trauma, and think you are not worthy enough to be chosen or loved. 

You continuously become an active and conscious participant in creating pain and discomfort in your life. You abuse yourself first before others abuse you. 
After a series of brutal lessons, and being aware of your patterns, you start loving yourself.

You forgive yourself for all the ways and all the times you hurt yourself. You start choosing yourself and rewriting your story. You start seeing yourself for who you have always been. A queen wrapped and adorned in beauty and boundless grace.