This past weekend, a friend and I spent some time together watching movies and just hanging out. I wanted to cheer her up because a guy she was kinda seeing decided to call it quits. It’s a shame because she seemed to really like him, but at the same time, better to end it soon than to get really attached and it fall apart later.
We watched, quite appropriately it seems, The Perks of Being a Wallflowere. There was one quote in the movie that really stuck out to both of us. A character asked basically why good girls like bad boys. In other words, why do really nice people choose people who treat them like shit. The answer was, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
I’ve written about two topics on here that go back to this quote. The first was All the Good Guys, which really spoke to this quote. The good guys aren’t all taken and they aren’t all boring. You just have to be willing to stop letting appearance dictate what makes a person deserving of your love and you of theirs. The others were about the abusive relationship I was in.
It wasn’t the only one. I got better with each guy I dated after, but there were still varying degrees of torment, disrespect, and being controlled that I subjected myself to. Each new guy wasn’t as bad as the previous, but still had some quality that made it impossible to have an adult relationship. The downside is I had to learn the hard way why I trapped myself in this web of unhealthy relationships.
I’ve been working through these issues for the last 7 months. Nothing hurts more than learning why you were susceptible to being someone’s prey. The truth of it is, I went after the love I thought I deserved. I had no self-esteem in any sense of the word. I didn’t think I could have better. I didn’t even want better at the time. I just wanted to be good enough.
Through all of this I have learned, with the help of someone I love very much, that I was already good enough. It took someone loving me the way that I am to figure that out. To be perfectly honest, accepting that was almost more difficult than enduring someone screaming at me and telling me how worthless I was. After years of my brain being conditioned to see that all I have to offer are shortcomings, being in a friendship that turned into an incredible relationship was a shock to the system.
You grow so accustomed to an almost culture of being put down and shamed, that someone telling you that they wouldn’t change a thing about it doesn’t seem right.
I questioned everything. I worried that everything was a test or a game for months. Even now I still fall back into that mindset occassionally. It’s going to take time and patience for me to adjust, but I’m getting there.
What I really want to say to anyone reading this (I’m talking to the men as much as the women), is that to find true love, you have to be willing to accept that you deserve better than what you most likely think you deserve. You cannot punish yourself for what you perceive as flaws by trapping yourself in a cycle of abuse. It doesn’t even have to be abuse. You don’t have endure being taken for granted, treated with indifference, or being someone’s last priority. No one deserves that. Not you, not your worst enemy (depending on who they are, anyway).
Everyone deserves the type of love that we read about when we lose ourselves in books or in a movie. That love is real. I promise you it is. It’s not just what pop culture tells us it is. It does exist. Most of us are too afraid or too blinded by our own self-loathing to be able to let it in. I know. I did it and I did for far too long.
Unfortunately, if I hadn’t take the painful road, I may have never learned this lesson at all. It sucks that I put myself through years of misery to get to this point. At the end of the day though, I wouldn’t trade any of it for what I have in my life now. I appreciate someone for all the reasons that I deserve to be appreciated and I’m finally accepting that this is and always was a possibility.
You just need to be brave enough to accept it.