Talking to different people, hearing different stories, and going over my own experiences, I’ve been thinking a lot about the lengths we go to in order to be loved in life. The things we are willing to put up with (right or wrong) in order to have someone; in order to be in a relationship.
I myself have stayed in very wrong relationships much longer than I should have. I’ve continued to see people who didn’t treat me the way that I deserved, people who made me miserable, people who I knew I was wasting my time with but wanted to “try it” or “give it a chance.” In hindsight, it’s all so transparent. It’s all so clear how wrong things were. But I can remember what it felt like to be in the thick of it. To rationalize away all of the red flags. To push down my emotions so much because the thought of being single again or having no one was just too much for me to bear. To compromise my values and myself just so I could feel “caught up” with the world because some guy was texting me or paying attention to me.
I’ve been on the inside of all of that, but I’ve also been on the outside. I’ve seen so many of my friends do the same. I’ve seen them make the same mistakes I have. I’ve heard stories from complete strangers in other blogs that have stayed with someone who cheated on them, who maybe even abused them. It breaks my heart to see so many of us struggling just to be loved.
I think the desire to be loved is inherent in all of us, male or female. I’m of course talking about the female side mostly here but I know that all of us as human beings have that desire somewhere to be loved in one form or another. We all just want to know that we’re accepted and cared for by someone and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But when is enough enough? When does that desire take over and start becoming unhealthy? I know I’ve certainly hit the unhealthy part of it more than once.
If we could take away the stigma that being alone is somehow inferior, I think we could start to chip away at the unhealthy level of wanting to be loved. If we really felt like it was alright to be single and to know that we’re worthy, then I think maybe we’d stop dating people just for the sake of dating (that doesn’t include consciously dating for fun by the way. I think we all need to do that from time-to-time). If we all were fortunate enough to have someone tell us we are loved and worthy growing up maybe we’d stop settling for people who don’t treat us well just because we want someone or because we think we won’t find anyone better. We’d stop staying in relationships much longer than we should. We’d stop getting into relationships we know are wrong for us or even unsafe for us.
Sometimes it takes the bad experiences for us to recognize the good ones. It takes the bad guys to make us recognize the good ones. It takes the draining and misery-inducing experiences to make us appreciate the really great ones. I know I wouldn’t be who I am without all the bad choices I’ve made in those I’ve dated, or even in life. But I think the next step to truly seeing the good ones and to be ready to be with someone deserving is to love ourselves. To deserve our own love before we try accept someone else’s. To know we are worthy and not desperately cling on to this idea that we are “nobody until somebody” loves us (worst song ever). We are already loved as long as we love ourselves and then when that person comes along who is deserving, we will be loved even more.