"We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve"
I love this quote. I remember reading "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" whilst at the summer camp I used to work at, Camp Laurelwood, in 2009. I was 18-years-old and in a love triangle between an Englishman and a Scotsman (dating British men was a trend for me for about 6 years. That could be it's own article).
The line stuck out to me and hasn't left my mind since that summer.
Throughout my life, I had always been attracted to those who didn't truly see me. This may have been due to their own relationship history, level of emotional availability, or simply that the timing wasn't right. I would get into relationships with men who couldn't satiate my deeply rooted need for connection and authentic intimacy, and their lack of interest would validate this inner belief that I wasn't good enough, wasn't lovable.
The kicker is that there were men across the way who did see me. These men were healthy, emotionally available, authentic souls who were willing to give all of themselves to me. If for whatever reason I attempted to date them, I would always end up sabotaging the relationship. I couldn't understand why.
I always felt like the victim of my own life.
"Why did they leave me?"
"Why wasn't I good enough?"
"What don't I have?"
The reality is that my inadvertent sabotaging behavior would exist from the very beginning. I would slowly push them away, or manifest chaos in a multitude of forms. Then, when they undoubtedly left, I was alone again feeling like a victim.
But little did I know, or little was I able to internalize that we accept the love we think we deserve.
If I have no self worth or foundation of self and identity, I will not be able to accept a healthy relationship. I will wonder, "why are they with me?" and push them away.
If I have no self-efficacy and self-love, I will be drawn to those who validate the belief that I am not enough. Sometimes this can present itself in abusive relationships, emotionally vacant relationships, or any other dynamic that isn't fulfilling or healthy.
We also attract people on our same level of sanity.
If I am toxic, gossiping, and full of resentment, I will attract people who are the same way. I will be much more likely to spend my time with friends who are also miserable and causing misery with others. If I am emotionally healthy and sane, I will attract like minded people and also be attracted to those kinds of friends or partners.
On the flipside, if I have a solid foundation of self-worth, I will not settle for someone who does not meet me at the level of my needs. I will not be drawn to toxicity or chaos, and I will choose to a leave a relationship before I jeopardize my values and my integrity.
I can accept genuine love only when I learn to love myself.
What a concept.
So if you're anything like I was, and tell yourself that you "just aren't good at relationships" or "don't like commitment," that's a load of bullshit.
The reality is that every single human on this earth of capable of truly giving and receiving love. Far too often, however, we focus on energy in all the wrong places. We channel our precious energy into seeking out a partner, forcing a relationship that may not be organic from the beginning, or changing ourselves to meet the needs of another.
That's where we have it all wrong.
We need to fall in love with ourselves, first.
And if you're already in a relationship, you can still embark on this journey of self-love. It's sometimes paralyzing and terrifying, but it's doable. We just need to be willing to take it a step at a time.
More to come on self-love.
But remember, we can only accept love if at the core, we believe we are worthy.
So tell yourself, just for today:
I am worthy.
I am enough.