This I Believe

Ashley - Boulder, Colorado
Entered on August 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in letting yourself be loved.

As a woman growing up in the age of individualism, I always knew that I needed to be independent and strong. I wanted to take care of myself completely, loving others but never burdening them with my problems.

In my last years of high school I ended up moving in with a friend’s family because my severe family struggles. Although the people I lived with were wonderful, beautiful and giving, I still felt abandoned and isolated in a new environment. I became very depressed but because of my need for independence I did not let anyone help me through this time of turmoil. I believed that it would be better for me and the people around me, to take care of my issues alone. This only led to self hatred and eventually to an intense eating disorder. The further my life was swept out of my grasp and control, the harder I fought for my solitude and isolation. My body and spirit both started to deteriorate, and I was so apathetic at this point that I made no move to try and heal myself. Even in this chaotic downward cycle, I would not bring my problems to others, thinking that I was doing them a favor in keeping my shattered life to myself. This pattern continued, and if God had not sent someone to pull me away from this cycle, I don’t know where I would be now. My hero came in the form of a dear friend, and as much as I fought to keep my idea of independence, the more he fought to love me. He stood by me as I struggled with my addiction to self destruction, and he stood by me as I continually broke down and made myself deal with the emotional and physical problems I had let control me for so long. I realized that just because I was alone all that time, I did not have independence. I was dependent on and a slave to my disorder and depression. I hesitantly let him love me, and take care of me. He let me lean on him when I was weak and helped me take my first steps towards becoming the strong woman I had always wanted to be. This healing process was painful and long but I finally realized that if you don’t share your burdens and struggles with the people around you, then you do not truly love them, or yourself. It is selfishness to detach your self from others. People are meant to be together and to love each other, through the strong points and the weak. Once I let down my guard and allowed the healing waters to rush in, I recognized the obvious: that love is reciprocal. If you don’t let yourself be loved then you can never truly experience the beauty of the world . . .and return the love it so desperately wants to give to you.