When I was asked to write a post for Lies We Tell Ourselves, I had no idea what to say. This book is personal for me—pretty much a long, ten-month therapy session on paper. And since the book is already written, I wasn’t sure I had much else to talk about. In most ways, the book is a letter to me and my sisters. It highlights a major shortcoming that we’ve fallen into over our many years of life, and the shortcoming is this: that in order to be loving and kind and caring and empathetic…you often have to allow yourself to be trampled on.
It’s long been a core belief of mine. That any standing up for yourself is harsh and non-inclusive and selfish and honestly kinda mean.
Of all the lies I’ve told myself in life, this is probably the biggest one. What’s worse? I don’t even know how this lie began. I don’t remember my parents raising me to believe this was the way to live a Godly life. I don’t remember the church saying this either, at least not outright. I think—in the whole “turn the other cheek” thing we all learned in Sunday School, I somehow warped the meaning inside my own mind. In talking with my sisters, I’m pretty sure they did it too. It wasn’t until recently that I realized “turn the other cheek” is in reference to forgiveness. We’re supposed to forgive over and over again as many times as it takes because that’s what Jesus has done for us.
But somehow I had interpreted “turn the other cheek” to mean, “let other people slap you.” As many times as they want, over and over and over. And nothing could be further from the truth.
Anyway, maybe you’ve done this too. Maybe not. But instead of adding to the book I’ve already written, I’m just going to let you read my “Dear Reader” letter from the back of the book because it explains the meaning behind the story better than I could restate it.
Lies We Tell Ourselves released today. I hope you buy it, read it, and find yourself inside the pages.
This book was hard to write, mainly because I wasn’t quite sure what I was trying to communicate until I was well into the story. Up to the point of realization, it was more like I was scratching out random thoughts onto paper that had no theme or context. You know what they say about writing being the equivalent of opening a vein and letting yourself bleed? Well, that’s what I was doing. Bleeding. Except the blood was going everywhere and making an absolute mess of things, metaphorically speaking. That kind of vein-opening might make for halfway decent therapy, but it wasn’t telling a very good story.
And then I had a talk with my older sister; one of our many talks because 2017-2018 had been very rough years for her overall. In the course of this particular conversation, she said something through tears that initially knocked me in the gut, and then made me angry on her behalf. She said this:
“I guess I’m just not worth it. Maybe I never was.”
Someone had communicated this to her in subtle and not so subtle ways over a whole bunch of years, and now the fallout came to a head. “Maybe I never was.” She wasn’t saying it in an offhanded way or as a way to get sympathy. She said it because—right then in that moment—she believed it to her core.
I won’t tell you what I said to her because it’s personal, but friends, this is what I want to say to you…the point of my whole book. You Are Worth It. No matter what your parent says about you. No matter how your spouse treats you. No matter if your kid screams at you. No matter how many times a friend gossips about you. No matter how badly your coworker acts toward you. No matter if the neighbor drives over your newly planted flowers. No matter that latest bad review. No matter what awful things you say to yourself.
You. Are. Worth. It.
You know how I know this?
Because a God who loves you said so when He sent His son to sacrifice his life for you a whole bunch of years ago. That’s what I believe down to my bones. But even if you don’t believe the same way I do, then believe this:
You are worth it. Because I say so.
And sometimes—more than anything else—we just need someone to speak that truth into our lives for the simple purpose of drowning out the lies we so easily say to ourselves. If you need a list of them, take a look at the cover of this book. I had a lot more to add, but we ran out of room.
As for my sister, she’s moving on with her life and I’ve never been prouder.
As for the rest of my family, we’re doing well. We’re standing up and coming back together after a very not fun couple of years. Rock bottom is where you get to build a new foundation, right? We’ve poured the concrete and now we’re rebuilding the walls. Progress is progress, right?
In this case, it is.
In your case, one step forward is better than standing still.
Keep moving, friends. Speak kindly to yourself. And above everything…
Know your worth and recite it to yourself daily.
I am worth it.
I am worth it.
I am worth it.
More about The Lies We Tell Ourselves
Presley Waterman is a rescuer: of animals, of businesses, of people. Like the stray cat she’s allergic to but continues to care for. Like her small-town newspaper, a business that’s been dying a slow death for the better part of a decade. And like Micah. Her best friend and the man she has loved since they were kids, back when no one else cared.
As for him…
Micah Leven loves Presley. She’s the girl who’s always been there to help, the one who knows all the ugly things about him and makes him believe he can be a better man, the one who will never leave because she’s promised over and over.
But he also loves Mara.
Mara is his ideal. She’s the dream he conjured up as a boy and never wavered from. She’s beautiful, ambitious, driven, a fellow newscaster at his Atlanta station, and the perfect asset for the life he’s always wanted. Together, they could conquer the world and their respective careers. Even better, with Mara he could prove that he did—in fact—finally amount to something. Maybe then his father would be proud.
There are just a few things Presley and Micah have both forgotten. One, just because you rescue someone doesn’t mean they’ll love you for it. Two, some dreams disappear when reality wakes you up. Three, the only way to silence lies is to face the truth head-on.
This is the story of the man torn between two existences, the woman who finally took the choice away from him, and what happens when you stop listening to lies once and for all.
Even if the biggest liar is you.
Amy Matayo is an award-winning author of The Wedding Game, Love Gone Wild, Sway, In Tune with Love, A Painted Summer, The End of the World, The Thirteenth Chance, The Whys Have It, Christmas at Gate 18, and Lies We Tell Ourselves.
She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But don’t feel sorry for her–she’s super proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn’t put it to good use.
She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is always working on her next novel, whichever one that may be.