There’s a big difference between wanting what you think you deserve and what you actually deserve. We spend so much time being self-critical with our looks, our jobs and even our love lives; it’s practically human nature. Like they say, our biggest critics are ourselves.
It’s easy for us to be blinded by our (not so) secret self-loathing or even to bury it so far in the closet of Narnia that you don’t even know that what you want and what you deserve are two very different things.
Having come out of a very serious relationship after a year, I decided to take some time off to recalibrate. I lost a love that I thought I would never get over, left a job that I wasn’t happy with and eventually took some time off for myself. Strangely enough, mourning the loss of someone who is still alive hurts even more. But, everybody needs that once in awhile – the time to mourn, to get your head screwed back on straight and most importantly; to heal.
Learning How To Be Alone
After a year of being by myself, I started feeling content with being on my own. I took up painting, I wrote more, I even got back into concentrating on my fitness and had as many adventures as much as I could.
In this time, I realised just how messed up the modern dating world really is. You are no longer ‘dating’ other people, you’re only ‘hanging out’. To ask for something more out of someone is considered utter blasphemy and totally unheard of as if you had just asked them to marry you. It’s a total joke.
Falling For Those Who Are Bad For You
Because life goes on, I found myself crossing paths with someone new and exciting. He was handsome, charming and he intrigued me.
Without getting into the nitty gritty details, I realised I had fallen for his childish games and his aloof behaviour after a couple of months of us ‘hanging out’. I eventually found myself really falling for him (stupid, right?).
Every time he realised that he had a hold on me, he would pull away and not text or hang out with me as much. And when I stopped giving him as much attention because I realised this shift – the more he would try and wriggle his way back into my life.
At this point, I already knew how different we were. They say that the reason behind the phrase ‘opposites attract’, is because you lack the traits within yourself that when you see it in a potential partner you ultimately put them on a pedestal thinking they will fill that void that is within you.
I clung on to the notion of ‘wanting what you can’t have’ and I would hold on to any glimmer of hope anytime we had a good time or he did something sweet. The thing is, the bad times outweighed the good times. You accept the love you think you deserve, right?
I spilled my heart out and surprise, surprise, I got rejected or a “I don’t know what I want” type of response. I knew I should have walked away the moment I realised I wasn’t going to get the kind of commitment I wanted out of him. I should have walked away the moment I realized I was more emotionally invested than he was. The thing is, if it was so easy for me to be so sure of what I wanted – why wasn’t he?
The toxicity of these foolish games led me into rethinking what my idea of normal was for relationships. I thought, ‘maybe not all relationships are supposed to be an all encompassing kind of love’ and I’ll never forgive him for allowing me to be that lesser bit of myself in that point in time. Never settle.
But like any normal human being, I stayed because I thought if I changed and became a better version of myself then he would want to be with me. So, I put up with nonchalant cancelling of plans, rudeness and his general nonsense.
Until one day I just woke up.
I thought that year of learning to love myself post-first-boyfriend break-up was out the window after allowing myself to stay in something so toxic with this one. But the thing is, I never would have been able to finally walk away if I didn’t truly love myself. I did that for me.
No one should ever make you feel like you’re not good enough. Never be apologetic for who you are and you should never have to force somebody to want to be with you. You should never have to feel like you’re the ‘clingy one’ just because you want to spend time with them. And you should never have to feel like you’re ‘crazy’ because you wanted to give what you thought was a potential relationship a real shot.
So instead of being bitter of the outcome and hating him, I thank him from the bottom of my heart in helping me prove to myself that I deserve better.