Last month on March 31st, I came across The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Netflix. As the last day for streaming, I felt compelled to watch it before it disappeared. I read the book back in the day, so I naturally also watched the movie when it came out in the theaters. Don’t worry – there are no spoilers today, but I recommend reading the book or watching the movie if you’re interested. One quote by the author, Stephen Chbosky, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” has always resonated with me. Reflecting on my previous relationships over the past few months has only confirmed that the partners I chose to stay with long-term have always acted as a mirror into my soul & how I felt about myself at that time in my life.
Love in My Teens & Twenties
In my teenage years & my early twenties, I always chose romantic partners who were attractive, but emotionally immature & self-centered. At the time, I had no idea what love entailed. All I needed in a relationship was someone who was just as attractive & popular as I was, obsessed with me, & willing to jump over every hurdle I placed in their way to earn my love & affection. My relationships were one-sided. In my eyes, I deserved someone who was attractive enough to help me climb higher within my social circles or career. I wanted someone to devote themselves to make me happy because I needed validation. I didn’t love myself, so I desperately wanted someone who was willing to always show me my worth by how much money they would spend on me & being willing to drop everything in their own life to cater to my every need.
Love in My Thirties
After nearly a decade of bad romantic decisions, in my early thirties, I finally date guys who are emotionally mature, hilarious, honest, trustworthy, & worthy of my time & attention. After my quarter-life crisis at 26, I finally got my $#!+ together & stayed single for a while, because I knew that I deserved better. I don’t date guys who are obsessed with me, because I no longer need the constant reassurance of their love. I only spend time with men who are well put together, have a great sense of humor, can carry an intelligent conversation, & have their own personal life goals. Now, I proactively choose to only date men that respect the boundaries I set for myself & appreciate my ambition, confidence, intelligence, & entrepreneurial mindset.
I’m happy to say that I know who I am & what I deserve. When a man no longer respects me, I walk away knowing that it’s not about me & my worth anymore. I no longer blame myself for a man’s betrayal & dishonesty, because that’s not a reflection on me. By choosing to hurt me, they’re actually betraying & lying to themself. You can love someone unconditionally, but always walk away when staying with them means sacrificing your self-respect.
Take the time to reflect on your past relationships & understand that whenever your romantic partners chose to betray your trust, cheat, flake on plans, lie, or sneak around behind your back, they were really doing it to themself. When your partner doesn’t feel worthy of you, they will show you who they are through their actions. If you’ve been nothing but kind & faithful to them, take their actions as a sign that they think they don’t deserve you. If you choose to stay despite mistreatment, you’re ultimately telling yourself that you “deserve” to be with a terrible person. I’m hoping to be the one who tries to teach you & anyone else who comes across my blog that you do deserve to be loved better.
No matter how long you’ve been with someone; you don’t deserve abuse, betrayal, or manipulation. Do not tolerate abuse & stay with someone because you “love” them. It’s not selfish to love yourself enough to walk away. Only you know who you are & what you truly deserve. Be willing to forgive their mistakes, but be strong enough to protect your heart & give it to someone who will cherish it.
You deserve someone who will be honest with you even when it’s hard. The right partner will love you & defend your honor even when you’re apart. You deserve someone who will reassure you that despite who wants them, they will always only want you. Don’t let anyone other than you dictate what you deserve. This is your life, & you deserve an amazing one surrounded by people with good intentions. So if “we accept the love we think we deserve?”, what do you deserve?