It is truly amazing how one person can bend over backwards for the people they love and care about, but only feel the tiniest bit of self-worth.

I am someone who is devoting my life to helping others.

I believe that everyone has purpose.

I put in so much effort to make those around me feel loved and appreciated.

Yet, I wear a mask.

A mask that separates reason, kindness, appreciation, love, and integrity from my mind. This mask keeps those feelings and thoughts from seeping in; they only project them outward and back into the world around me. These words can never touch the surface of my shield, let alone penetrate it. This mask allows me to truthfully express these emotions to others, but prevents any type of reciprocity. It prevents compliments, positive feedback, and admiration that is given to me by others from entering my mind. I hear their words, but my mask does not allow these words to dissolve into my body; to flow through my bloodstream; to find a safe, believable home within my brain. My mask is selective Teflon. It rejects self-appreciation and care by bouncing these words back into the ether. My mask fights off self-worth. It deflects any statements that contribute to a sense of self-love or respect for myself.

My mask has been attached to me for so long that it has tightened right up against my skin. It creates an imbalance between mind and body that leaves me feeling dizzy; any positive statements about me are immediately chewed up and spit back out, ready to convince me that there is an alternate, negative connotation coming from them. My mask is soft on the outside where people can see, but rough and cold on the inside when we are alone. It constantly punctures my brain, reminding me that some type of pain is always being felt, regardless of the situation I am in.

My mask makes me a hypocrite. It allows me to be patient with everyone except for myself.

I’ll preach: “Self-care is of the utmost importance. You deserve to take care of yourself.”
My mask tells me; “You deserve nothing. You are wasting your time. You could be doing more. You are not worth it.”

“You deserve a love that makes it feel as if there is an electric pulse exuding through your fingertips.”
You will never have that love; it is all lie. A worthy, exciting love does not exist for you; you do not deserve to experience it. How could someone love you when you are constantly falling apart, when you cannot hold yourself together? No one should waste a spark of their love on you.

“Bad days do not make bad people. Everyone has these days and that’s okay.”
You are a failure. You are an idiot for feeling as if you have nothing to live for and you should be ashamed that you are not able to control this. You are ridiculous and it’s getting old. No one wants to put up with your mental health anymore.

“You’re allowed to feel sad. You’re allowed to feel depressed. You’re allowed to have down days.”
There is no reason you should be dealing with any of this. You are weak. You are insecure. You are a failure. How are you going to help other people when you can’t even keep your own shit together? You are a waste of time and space.

“Let’s try and think of this in realistic terms, okay? Sometimes we sink in our heads and warp reality, but let’s see if we can try and put thoughts to these feelings.”
You are right. All of this is happening because you are not good enough. There is no other explanation. Do not let anyone try and tell you otherwise. You are the reason for bad things happening.

“Everything is going to be okay. I promise you this. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but it has to turn out brighter.”
Nothing is going to get better. Stop thinking that it will. You are a mess and this is your fault. Stop lying to yourself.

No matter what I do,

No matter how many times I try and reach out,

No matter how many times I try to rip this mask that is sewn across my face,

I cannot break through it to believe that I am worthy of love, of friendship, of respect, and no words from anyone can break through this shield.

I cannot untangle myself from my mask. We have been one for too long. While it is attached, love, respect, and self-worth will not seep through.

And all I want in this world is to have the strength to tear it off.


Rebecca is one of our most talented community members. We are so lucky to have her and her beautiful words featured on our site. You can also read Rebecca’s Coping piece, read more of her creative work, and view her artwork. Give some big love to Rebecca in the comments.

Always remember you are not alone.

You are loved.


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