Beloved by Jordan Feliz has always been one of my favorite songs, but I never really noticed how much the lyrics resonated with my soul until the last two weeks, when I dealt with a loss of self (depersonalization). Last year, I finally figured out who I was––apart from the lies others told me throughout my life––and now I’m walking that road again. Within the last month, I’ve been told that certain things about me were “true,” but then after praying to God about them and talking to close friends, I realized those were just more lies I believed. How did I fall back into that trap?
I realized it’s hard to distinguish from truths and inaccuracies when people you trust tell you those things. Since you value their thoughts, you generally validate them subconsciously. However, all people have flaws: people misinterpret things, they make unfair judgments about you, and they often project thoughts and feelings onto you. In the psychology world, this is known as transference. This often happens when someone meets another person that reminds them of someone from their past. Psychology today defines this term as “an unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another.”
Even if you’re a good person that hasn’t done anything wrong, chances are that someone will find something wrong with who you are. You’re too quiet for your own good. You can’t possibly succeed at “x job” because you have “x medical/physical condition” (for instance, I was told I cannot possibly excel as a lifeguard with an anxiety disorder, even though I lifeguarded previously at three different places and made saves within those jobs). You’re not pretty enough to do that. You’re too unintelligent to handle such complicated tasks. You work way too hard, so others are jealous of you and look for your flaws. Readers, I’m sure you have your own list of “false truths” you’ve believed throughout your own life.
That’s why I LOVE this song by Jordan Feliz. It accurately describes the way I’ve processed this difficult situation of conflict I’ve recently faced.
Here’s the first verse and chorus:
Head full of questions, how can you measure up?
To deserve affection, to ever be enough
For this existence
When did it get so hard?
Your heart is beating, alive and breathing
And there’s a reason why
You are essential, not accidental
And you should realizeYou are belovedI wanted you to know
You are beloved
Let it soak into your soul
Oh, forget the lies you heard
Rise above the hurt
And listen to these words
You are beloved
I want you to know
You are beloved
- Why do people feel the need to attack me just for working hard and being myself?
- Why is my true self never good enough for some people?
- Why do some people still hold my anxiety against me for occasional attacks, even though I constantly resource my CBT therapy exercises throughout the day?
- Do my friends appreciate me for who I am, or do they also criticize me in their minds?
- Is being “quieter” really a bad thing? If so, why did God make me so introverted?
- Why am I experiencing so much pain over the unique personality God gave me?
- Why does it seem like I’m never good enough or never do anything well enough for some people?
- Why do I always try so hard and push my limits if some people will never care and only see what they want to see about me?
- What really is true about me?
- Am I loved?
- Is it okay to have flaws, or do we have to work through them all?
- Is it okay to be vulnerable with other people, or should I go back to my life of hiding my flaws so others can’t use them against me?
- Am I allowed to stick up for myself when people tell me I should believe something about myself that isn’t true, or do I just cower in a corner and refrain from defending the identity God gave me?
I could list more, but that’s a general outline of all the thoughts I’ve had. Clearly, I live in my mind, and that’s probably why I’ve been emotionally exhausted lately. I sleep enough, and I’ve even made sure I’m eating enough lately, but I’ll sometimes still feel fatigued just from overthinking things all the time.
As the song also says, I’m wondering when things got so hard. Things became so much better over the last semester, and they were even great at the beginning of summer, but the hardships crept up during week two and didn’t stop. I feel like I’ve broken most of the bad habits God has had me work through over the last two years (e.g. overworking myself, not eating from stress, becoming anxious over loss of control), yet I feel like I’m being punished for something. However, my friend Kenny reminded me that God does not punish. Like a parent, he lets us go through hard stuff so we can learn lessons for ourselves, but he is not ultimately responsible for our suffering. If anything, have hope in that fact.
Next, you are alive! Even if others say you’re unworthy, you ARE worthy in God’s eyes! People don’t have the same understanding as God, so they don’t know what unique purpose he has given you. If you know what that purpose is, take confidence in it. Do not let mere, immortal humans say you cannot do what God has called you to. That’s what happened to Moses in Exodus––he kept saying that he wasn’t qualified. Don’t let others––even those you respect––tear you down. I have fought people over their false assumptions, and I will continue doing it for the Lord. You are essential, not accidental.
Even if others don’t love you, chances are you have at least one friend or family member who does. Talk things over with that person, and ask them to help them remind you of who you are. Last week, I asked a friend to list things that were true about me, and I’m going to write that list down and hang it up on my wall soon so I don’t forget who I actually am.
Lastly, Jordan reminds us to forget those lies we heard and rise above the hurt. Over the last two weeks, I’ve cried a lot of tears––in front of supervisors, head staff members, friends, and over the phone with family. I’ve sobbed more in the last week that I probably have this entire year. I’m grieving the loss of my position as a camp lifeguard, but I know God prepared a safer environment for me as a hostess. In that environment, people have reminded me of what is true about me.
One of my coworkers actually recently told me, “I love working with you because you’re always one step ahead of everyone else. We really appreciate you.” In my last job, it seemed like nobody ever saw my hard work, so I believed that maybe I wasn’t actually a good employee. However, I then realized that statement probably resulted from a misunderstanding.
Rise above the hurt. Take time to grieve and cry it out, but don’t put yourself down because of something others said if you know it isn’t true. Take everything with a grain of salt, and evaluate everything carefully. Perhaps there’s some truth in something a person told you, but learn to distinguish that from full truth. Learn important lessons, but also have good judgment. For instance, it’s possible that you made an honest mistake at your job. You’ll have something to learn for next time, but don’t let people tell you that you’re careless due to that one mistake. If you’re really a hard worker, take confidence in that fact.
I hope you all remember that you are beloved, even when others say you aren’t. Let that fact soak into your soul and enrich it. God handcrafted you, and he knows you better than any wise sage can. Make a list of what is true about you, and put it somewhere you can see––on your car dashboard, mirror, notebook, etc;. Don’t ever forget that you’re loved and beautiful in God’s eyes.