Alanis Morissette’s music has always appealed to me. First, it was the angst, anger-driven lyrics of rejected love that I could relate to. As I got older, and as Morissette got older, the music was relatable for all the emotion she packed into her lyrics. “That I Would Be Good” has become one of my favorites because no matter what stage of my life I’m in, it still applies. It applies to all of us.
We are our own worst enemies and critics. We can find every flaw possible, even when they might not exist. We punish ourselves for mistakes we made. We punish ourselves for events that we have no control over. We punish ourselves for the actions of others that hurt us, convincing ourselves that we somehow deserved it. We reject love, freely given, because we believe ourselves to be incapable of returning it. I’m probably guilty of all this a dozen times a day. Sometimes I can’t pull myself out of the pattern, no matter how hard I try. Sometimes, we need others to pull us up. That’s what friends and loved ones are for, right? To support us when we can’t support ourselves. To tell us we’re good, no matter what we think of ourselves. To love us, even when we feel we like our hearts are missing. The problem is that until we believe it ourselves, the words of others can’t cut through our own doubts.
Most of us cannot objectively look at our own lives, especially when life has beaten us down over and over again. You come to expect the disappointment. You come to expect the rejection and the abandonment. And when someone comes along to tell you they won’t abandon you and that you are wonderful, you often can’t believe them. They can say “I love you for who you are and you are an amazing person,” but unless you believe it about yourself, you will doubt their words.
We all have to believe that we are good, despite the demons in our heads or the mistakes that we make or the pits we fall into. We have to help those we love believe that they are good because none of us can do this living thing alone. We have to help those we love accept the love that is there for them. Love is too precious and rare to be rejected out of fear or guilt. When someone offers you their love and heart, you accept it as the gift that it is.
You are loved. You are wanted. You are good.