Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of loving yourself and how it affects the relationships you are in or will be in. We know the saying, “You can’t love others until you truly love yourself,” and I think that there are a thousand and one reasons why this is true, but, one reason in particular popped into my head the other day.
I have known and continue to know many people who serially end up in relationships with people who treat them poorly. For each person I know in this category, there has always been at least one “good guy” that came along … and who was just as quickly pushed aside. Someone very close to me has described being “annoyed” by the nice guys … she feels as though they are weaklings, needy, clingy, etc. And maybe some of them are. But. Maybe they aren’t. Instead, maybe there is something in her that causes her to perceive their affections for her, as ones sourced in weakness.
Here is something to think about. When you see yourself as invaluable, uninteresting, undesirable and less-than-ideal, you function under an assumption that others see you this way too … or that they would, if they knew the “real” you. So, when someone comes along who truly sees beauty, wonder, value, and worth in you … it feels illogical and unbelievable. It causes suspicion. “I am NOT desirable, so there must be some other reason that this person wants me..” I think, all too often, this suspicion eventually causes us to land on the conclusion that this person must, themselves, be weak, desperate and just settling for us. “Why else would they want to be with me?” And when we feel as though someone’s love for us is sourced in weakness … rather than in strength … it doesn’t feel genuine. We begin to see this person’s affections as needy, instead of giving and sourced in desperation, rather than desire. We go back to the people who treat us badly because, in our flawed mindset, THAT makes sense. We truly accept the treatment that we believe we deserve.
If, instead, we went into our relationships truly loving, liking and valuing ourselves, we would have a clear picture of what it is we want and what it is that we absolutely know we deserve. And then when a person came along who was loving us well, we would see their affections for what they truly are … ones sourced in appreciation, awe and thankfulness for having the chance to be with someone so worthy. Which is what we all are. But when we go into relationships NOT loving ourselves … not loving the person that we are … we sabotage ourselves. We are unable to freely and happily accept love when it comes our way, because it doesn’t make sense to us. We call it something else, i.e. weakness, desperation, and neediness on the other person’s part, and we put ourselves at risk of perpetually pushing the good ones away.
We have to pursue knowing ourselves, the good and the bad, and come to a place of acceptance and, eventually, a place of appreciation for who we are. You’ve been through a lot. You’ve been hurt, you’ve been failed, you’ve been lied to, betrayed, mistreated and undervalued. We all have. And because of these things we have arrived at who we are right now … a person with flaws and a person with strengths … and a person who is doing the best that they can, to be the best that they can. Pursue getting to know who you are. Forgive yourself, make goals, write a list of the beautiful qualities you have and the ugly. And love it all. So that when the time comes for you to be loved by someone else, you can accept it from them and know that you are receiving it because you deserve it. And so that when someone treats you poorly, you will value yourself enough to know that it is not what you deserve.