The other night, I was rewatching The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It is one of my favorite movies and I watch it when I want to feel emotionally moved. In the middle of the film, there is a scene where the main character Charlie, asks his teacher why nice people choose the wrong people to date.
The teacher answers, “Well, we accept the love we think we deserve.”
Charlie asks, “Can we make them know that they deserve more?”
His teacher smiles and answers, “We can try.”
It seems like common sense doesn’t it?
I’m sure that all of us want to be in a loving relationship with someone that treats us the way that we deserve.
Yet time and time again, I have been in relationships I knew didn’t serve me and I have watched close friends spend years or even decades putting all the effort into a barely functioning relationship.
The question is, why do we accept this behavior?
Why do we allow people that claim to love us to treat us in a way that is less than subpar?
You believe that loving someone can change/help/fix them
It’s the classic belief that we have the power to fix someone. We fall for someone that has flaws and we believe that if we just love them enough, it’s going to help them work through their problems.
I can tell you from experience that there is nothing as painful as loving someone with all of your heart and realizing that you cannot save them from their own self-destruction.
The truth is: no amount of love can fix someone.
Change has to come from within a person and only they can decide whether or not they want to do the necessary work.
You have a lack of self-worth
When deep down you don’t love yourself, you will seek outside reinforcement to make you feel loved.
A lack of self-worth often comes with a lack of boundaries and a lack of self- respect as well. These deep-rooted feelings will cause us to allow behavior in our life that we shouldn’t tolerate.
I was in plenty of unhealthy relationships where canceling plans was tolerated, a lack of communication was tolerated, and eventually, I was a complete doormat for my partner.
If you are willing to put in all the work without asking for anything in return you will quickly find yourself in a relationship that is one-sided.
You believe that you won’t get anything better
This is something that seems to come up more and more when people are at a later stage in their dating life.
I have asked friends in less than ideal relationships why they put up with their partner’s behavior.
The answers always seem to be, “At least he’ll never cheat on me” or “I’ll never find anyone else.”
It boils down to low expectations.
Now, there is no such thing as a perfect relationship but if you are staying with someone mediocre because you think you won’t get anything better, then you are living a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You don’t think you can make it on your own
Many of us have settled for a relationship that is less than ideal simply because we didn’t want to be alone.
I used to be in the same boat. I jumped from relationship to relationship because I feared being alone.
After all, being alone can be terrifying. It forces us to face ourselves and to really get to know who we are and what we want… which happens to be exactly what is needed to eventually be someone that can cultivate a healthy relationship.
I never found a healthy relationship until I was able to be single and on my own for some time.
You want to be with the right person because you want to be with them, not because you need to be with them.
You have to accept that you deserve the best
If any of these behaviors or feelings resonate with you, I want to remind you that you deserve more.
We truly do manifest the things that we want in our lives.
If we tell ourselves that we can’t get anything better than we won’t get anything better.
If we tell ourselves that being in a bad relationship is better than being alone, we won’t leave a bad relationship.
Good things don’t usually happen without feeling fear. It can be terrifying to end a long-term relationship even if it doesn’t make you happy. It can be terrifying to stand on our own two feet when we’ve leaned on someone else.
I will tell you from personal experience that I didn’t find the right person to spend this journey with until I realized what I deserved and didn’t settle for anything less.
My hope is that you realize how strong, beautiful, and resilient you are and that you only accept the love that is worthy of you.