There are things you’ve been told by parents, exes, or abusers that caused you to legitimately fear love.

Some people may have told you that you were unlovable—that they were the only ones that cared or will ever care. Some others may have told you that love never works out or that it hurts more than it’s worth. Maybe an ex walked away and left you confused and hurting—leading you to distrust love, simply because you were afraid of being hurt like that again.

When something traumatic or hurtful happens, it can cause you to reject future love. The kind that is truly healing, unconditional, and coming from a good place. Without this love in your life, you’re cutting out a great sense of joy. Life without love lacks luster.

For us survivors of abuse, it’s important to reclaim love because it helps us heal. It gives us a unique happiness that nothing else in this world can provide. It shows us how to let compassion back into our hearts, even after we were hurt so many times by someone.

Fortunately, all you have to do to embrace love once again is to overcome this cycle of fear. Reject the voices of your past and finally, truly, realize that love is worth it. It is always worth it.

To break free from this cycle, first isolate what caused you to fear love. What situation hurt the most? When you think about love, what do you fear will repeat itself?

Once you know this, contemplate what you still believe about this past situation. How does it still inform your current beliefs? What is it telling you is doomed to happen again?

Now, remember that these are all just thoughts. They arose from your past to protect you from being hurt again—they had a purpose. But now, they’re hurting you and they’re worth moving beyond. Don’t get angry at yourself for these thoughts. Rather, let yourself acknowledge they are there, they had a purpose, and now they are worth changing.

When you know what these beliefs are, you are in an empowered place to alter them. Write down each belief and create a new, more effective and true version of it.

If you believe “Everyone I love will hurt me,” change that into something more like, “Although I may be hurt by people I love, I can set better boundaries now and find healthy relationships—standing up for my needs if someone hurts me.” See how much more empowering that is?

Take some time today to reflect. Give yourself a chance to let love back into your life. You truly deserve the best and most beautiful forms of compassion.