Learning to love ourselves as much as we deserve to be loved is not all sunshine and flowers. It’s a hard process with hard lessons, especially when it comes to learning that sometimes loving ourselves means saying goodbye to people who aren’t treating us in the way we deserve.
For too long, I have seen both myself and my friends put romantic relationships on this pedestal far beyond where we are putting our own love for ourselves.
Who can really blame us when we’re raised on fairy tales as children, followed by the romantic chic flicks that get us through our teenage years.
After my fair share of heartbreaks, mostly over boys who definitely didn’t deserve a tear, and also a long period of being single, I feel I have collated some wisdom on the subject. To whoever may need to hear this, whether you’re in the midst of a messy situationship or your partner is simply not giving the love you crave, in 2021 we are loving ourselves enough not to settle.
One of my favourite reads in helping me realise I needed to love myself enough not to settle in relationships is Florence Given’s ‘Women Don’t Owe You Pretty’. A particular favourite quote of mine is “while I was settling for crumbs, someone out there wanted to give me the whole cake”. I realised that in the time I was spending waiting from the occasional crumb from a guy in the form of a text back or maybe a compliment, I could’ve been busy living my best life eating the best cake. I could’ve been on my own without the pain of the bare minimum attention from someone who should be providing you a three tier gateaux.
No matter how many times your friends have given you the ‘dump him’ speech, I imagine you’ve thought ‘…easy for you to say’. And you’re right, it absolutely is easier to give the advice than be the one having to take it. According to my wise therapist sister, there’s a few reasons as to why find ourselves for settling less than what we deserve; Whether it’s the fear of being alone or worrying that we will never find better. She says a big question she often asks her clients is ‘what would you do if fear wasn’t part of the equation’…wow. I think that’s one of the reasons why it seems so impossible to step away from an unfulfilling relationship; fear. The fear of the unknown after choosing to walk away. My job now is to try and ease some of those fears and remind you of the beauty that there is to be found in choosing to love yourself enough to walk away…
There is so much love and joy to be found around you that isn’t from a romantic relationship. I’ve learnt that there is so much love that can come from simply treating ourselves in the way we want to be treated. Fall in love with peaceful evenings, with nothing but a warm bath, a glass of wine and your favourite skin care routine. Fall in love with waking up in the morning without being tired from yet another sleepless night worrying about what your significant other is doing. Fall in love with those Sunday morning coffee dates with your best friend, laughing and feeling the sun on your face.
Fall in love with putting yourself first and knowing what it feels like to truly feel that real, warm love. You know not to settle for anything less than that feeling again.