“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
– Stephen Chbosky
One Monday morning not long ago, I met a beautiful girl in a coffee shop. She had tucked herself into a tiny corner, struggling not to be obvious that she was crying into her latte. An ever-growing population of mascara-stained tears were taking up real estate across her perfectly contoured-and-highlighted face.
Her nails were immaculately manicured, her outfit Pinterest-worthy, her teeth had that fresh-from-the-dentist-polished appearance, and I would be willing to bet she rarely missed a squat. Her keychain revealed her prestigious alma mater.
Her eyes, though – they were like a swampland of disorientation and torture. I introduced myself and asked if she needed help.
I must have landed on her personal “eject button ” for I’m quite sure every detail of her agonizing tale was soon offered to me without reservation. “I’ve had the worst weekend of my life,” she confessed with a defeated whisper.
It was about a guy – a guy who had entertained her with the notion of forever, whose level of heart-stopping romance had provoked her to dream of attaching his last name to the end of hers, who had showered her with birthday gifts and compliments including, but not limited to, “you’re the most righteous girl ever.”
She discovered that he had also been entertaining other immaculately-manicured, Pinterest-worthy, rarely-missing-a-squat girls on Tinder. He had spent her money and isolated her from her friends, too. She considered none of those things to be the worst of it, though. On this day, while crying into her latte, her suffering was born from the reality that she had come to the end of her roller coaster ride with him.
She had not departed from such roller coaster on her own accord, however. Nope. Rather, she had endured every jerk and dip with grace, poise and delusion. She had believed that the ride would eventually become smoother, but she was shoved off and cast aside onto the cold, unwelcoming earth, now forced to watch him do the same with “rarely-missing-a-squat girl 2.0” warming the seat she had once called her own.
This beautiful, educated girl was crying over a f*ckboy. I cannot count the number of beautiful, educated girls I know who make a lifestyle out of crying over f*uckboys.
To Love Yourself or to Love to F*ckboy; That Is the Question…
The more I learned, however, the more it became clear that she had been gulping on a self-induced poison all along. Time and again, his behavior had shown her who he truly was. Yet, time and again, she had chosen to stay. Despite her chronic complaining, snooping, tantrum-throwing and threatening, she was never going to leave him no matter how much he disrespected her. Knowing that, his bad behavior continued and any shred of respect he may have had for her dwindled to nothingness.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to console her with or a hug or thump her in the skull.
It got further interesting. She confessed to having turned her back on a guy who had loved her, respected her and proven to be trustworthy. She had grown bored with his constant predictability, so she waltzed straight into the arms of someone who offered her the guarantee of a blood-pumping, heart-stopping, spine-tingling thrill.
A thrill she got, indeed.
She glided along the floor with “Mr. Thrilling,” always obliging with him, getting lost in the dissonance. And, every time they stumbled, even when it was his fault, he’d always catch her fall. But, when the music stopped unexpectedly, she was the only one in the room. With every spin and dip, she had created for herself a tangled cobweb of regret that she was now having to unravel – alone.
I’ll Have a Spoonful of Passion With A Dollop of Misery, Please
The cycle of dramatic, exhilarating episodes of passion can be most addictive. The high is often so breathtaking and rapturous, there is a willingness to endure the agonizing, bleeding lows. But, the dramatic, exhilarating episodes of passion have nothing to do with love and relationship.
Not one bit.
No amount of goosebumps is worth saturating your pillow with tears. No amount of spine-tingling chemistry is worth being followed by the guarantee of wallowing in the belly of misery.
Just because someone kisses your forehead, screenshots your Snapchats, drools atop your cleavage and fills you with exalting compliments that launch your ego to a skyrocketing level of euphoria does not mean that person is falling in love with you. In fact, it does not guarantee that they remotely value any aspect of you.
Stop confusing attention, flirtation and passion with care, respect and sincere admiration. Oftentimes those things intertwine and it’s most fun when they do, but they are never one-and-the-same.
Perhaps you have convinced yourself that you will one day convince the object of your desire to also desire and commit to you fully.
But, you cannot expect to transform anyone other than yourself. You don’t have that kind of power.
If you believe you will one day convince a poorly-behaving person to love you, you are sipping on a cocktail of delusion, medicating yourself with a temporary, guaranteed-to-crash-and-burn high and pitching yourself a dream while being the thief of your own dignity. You are pulling the wool over your own silly eyes.
There are far too many torturous things in this life beyond our control. So many torturous things, indeed. So, why sign yourself up for more of them by rolling out the red carpet for someone whose actions and patterns are clearly communicating to you that they are unwilling to give you what you want?
Stop inviting it in, stop asking it to stay the night, and stop competing for its attention. You’ll always be rendered empty-handed and exhausted.
Maybe You Don’t Love Yourself Enough, Baby…
If you constantly find yourself in a relationship with someone who mistreats you, devalues you or disregards you, it is because some part of you believes you are deserving of nothing better than mistreatment, devaluation or being disregarded. It does not mean there are a shortage of quality men in the world.
Since when did self-love become so elusive? No one else is ever going to see your value if you do not see it. If you do not love yourself, you will always be in search of others to confirm that you are not lovable.
I deliver this message with a heart free of judgment and bearing plenty of experience. In fact, a few months ago, I found an old journal. Once, while in the throes of an acute heartache, I had written inside of it: “I just want to shut my eyes. I just want to fall asleep; wake up and discover then it had all been an ugly dream.”
I had to figure out why I was addicted to the roller coaster ride of highs and lows. It never brought any lasting peace or happiness to my life.
So, if you are tired of suffering heartaches, headaches and dizzy spells, it’s time to step off of the ride and take an honest assessment of yourself. The answer is not outside of you. There is no obscure lock for which you must find the right combination, nor is there some mystery to decode.
The key is simple: Stop being oblivious to your worth.
You’re a gem but you have to believe it, my friend.
I’m just being honest.
©TheDailyDoll.com/Lacey Johnson 2014, 2016
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy 12 Things Every Single Woman Needs to Get Through Her Silly Skull as well as He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys, by author Greg Behrendt.