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I had internalized the message that I needed to get rid of my 'baggage' in order to be loved. I didn't realize I was already worthy.

I had internalized the message that I needed to get rid of my 'baggage' in order to be loved. I didn't realize I was already worthy.
Lane Moore looking at her phone wearing an orange dress and a black shirt. Her book, 'You're Not the Only One F*cking Up' is on the right.
Lane Moore's book 'You're Not the Only One F*cking Up' is available as an ebook and audiobook on January 17.Courtesy Lane Moore, Courtesy Everand
  • Lane Moore is an award-winning writer, actor, comedian, and musician

  • This is an adapted excerpt from "You're Not the Only One F*cking Up: Breaking the Endless Cycle of Dating Mistakes."

  • The book includes dating advice and real-life stories, and is available exclusively from Everand.

It's almost always an issue of how we view our own worth. While there are some exceptions of course, for me and for so many others, it usually comes down to worthiness. We're not simply "too stupid" to miss red flags, and we don't secretly hate ourselves or love people treating us like replaceable human garbage.

Much more often, it boils down to a nagging internal fear that maybe this is as good as it gets, and "maybe this is as good as someone like me can expect." And, "Who are we to judge someone else's characteristics just because they don't align with what we're looking for? Who are we to ask for the world (see: basic human decency) when we ourselves are flawed, traumatized, and our lives have often been shaped in ways that we did not always choose?"

My own dating history left me unsure

So much of my past dating history included being unsure of my own worth, unsure of what it was OK to need; unsure if the needs I had were reasonable, normal, human needs, or if I was too damaged and needed way too much, too excessively or too unreasonably.

I wondered at times, more often than I preferred, if I needed to wait until I was fully whole, fully healed, to find love because maybe once I was healed, I would have the "right" needs and know the "right" boundaries I was allowed to set. I wouldn't have to question myself, and my self-worth would be so unshakable that I would never attract the wrong people again.

I figured all I had to do was lock myself away in a bell tower with as many therapists as my insurance would cover, plus a bunch of self-help books, journals, audiobooks, tarot cards, and health supplements for my brain health and gut microbiome, and I would finally be whole.

I internalized harmful messages about who was 'worthy' of being loved

Oh, and maybe an elaborate skincare plan was necessary, too, and a diet that Gwyneth Paltrow would approve of where I eat nothing but superfood birdseed. And maybe I should also hire a personal trainer or, at the very least, do one YouTube Pilates video for more than 15 minutes before ultimately giving up because the couch is right there. Maybe if I did all of these things, then I would finally be ready for — and worthy of — love.

For years, I had internalized the message that love only comes to the very thin, the clear-skinned and dewy-faced, the no trauma and no baggage, allegedly "perfect woman" who is horny and hot all the time, and is never confused about her own needs or her own self-worth; this perfect woman with pristine pores and a string of suitors who frequently Venmo her $8,000 just because. I could be her. I could. I could work for it. (Also, what does "no trauma, no baggage" even mean? Who doesn't have baggage? Is that a robot? And if so, how can I become a robot? Because that sounds fun.)

As I hear myself admitting these things, I'm tempted to say that I was being ridiculous and too hard on myself back then, and why would I think these things? Then, I am quickly reminded that this is exactly what society and media (and even our own friends and family) have been telling women their whole lives: "If you're a woman struggling to find, receive, or accept love, that's on YOU. That's a failing. And it's easy to solve, of course: Be thinner, be less, need less, and simply 'toxic positivity' your way through this. Make that vision board and stop being so whiny and needy. Then you, too, can find love — once you take this expert's five-step course for $15,000!"

Excerpted from "You're Not the Only One F*cking Up: Breaking the Endless Cycle of Dating Mistakes" by Lane Moore. Copyright © 2024 by Lane Moore. Published by Everand Originals, an imprint of Scribd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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