We’re all familiar with Marilyn Monroe’s classic quote: “If you don’t love me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.” But how much of your worst should anyone realistically be willing to tolerate?
Coming from a broken family and challenging myself to be better than my parents, I put a lot of focus on finding the right relationship based on my perfect ideals. The way I saw it, the majority, if not all, of the components that would contribute to the relationship’s happiness would come from my partner. He would have to be tall, kind, educated, etc. I never actually took the time to reflect on what I would be bringing to the relationship.
Years of Failed Relationships
As the years (and the many relationships) went by, I grew frustrated with failure after failure. Catastrophic failures, I should say. Nonetheless, I couldn’t find a reason for my “misfortune” in picking partners and would simply move on to the next person, not thinking about my mental health or the long term consequences of this behavior.
I played games, but I kept on losing.
I tried every play in the book, from introducing them to my parents, to attempting to spark jealousy. I played games, but I kept on losing. In the end, they all left. At one point, I lost someone I knew to be a genuinely good guy and whom I cared about, and I finally ran out of excuses. There was nothing I could accuse him of doing wrong. He was the perfect person, and he wanted nothing to do with me. I asked God and I asked myself why. And the answer was shocking.
A Discovery through Self-Reflection
I tried to reflect on where exactly all the relationships had gone wrong. Not just the final argument, but what had caused that fateful outcome. I critically analyzed my behavior and my contributions. I learned that I was emotionally weak, immature, and did not have any depth to add to the relationship, which led to insecurity, jealousy, self-consciousness, and attempts to overly sexualize myself to attract (and hopefully keep) the right man.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t work.
The discovery that came from the analysis of my behavior was shocking and scary. I couldn’t believe I had allowed myself to live with only a fraction of my potential for so long. I became so focused on rescuing myself and learning more about what I could achieve, that the prospect of having a relationship was put on the back burner. It was a true shock that prompted me straight into action.
I couldn’t believe I had allowed myself to live with only a fraction of my potential for so long.
My Commitment to Personal Growth
I made a commitment that before loving anyone, I needed to learn how to love myself and become someone whom I could fall in love with. I wanted to develop the characteristics that I would expect in my ideal partner. I wanted to become the ideal partner.
I started reading more. Learning more. Following my passions. Developing healthy habits. Participating in interesting hobbies. I slowly became someone others wanted to be around. Someone who wasn’t desperate and insecure. I was completely sure of myself, and that energy and aura were attractive to people.
I was completely sure of myself, and that energy and aura were attractive to people.
A Cycle of Positivity
Now, I had new friends and new love interests, who were of higher quality than I would have ever expected. They were hustlers who respected themselves and wanted to be around like-minded people. They wanted to be around me.
The quality of interactions I had with others became a cycle of positivity. I became a better and happier person the better my interactions were with people. Having that brand new and motivating environment helped me to build strength and conquer the tough times. I was on a path of endless growth that had me extremely excited about the future and what life had in store for me.
I was on a path of endless growth that had me extremely excited about the future and what life had in store for me.
I was able to develop healthy relationships with people based on mutual respect and a desire to see each other grow. I was no longer dependent on them for happiness; instead, it was a constant exchange. There was no subtracting, only adding. This mindset created a foundation for long-lasting commitments without cold feet. I wasn’t afraid to be hurt because I knew I would always be able to find myself.
My longest relationship lasted over six years. I was constantly focusing on bettering myself, making my partner happy, worrying about both our needs, and keeping the bad parts of myself in check. He did not deserve to be put through abuse; he did not deserve to be made to suffer. My greatest proof of love for him was my commitment to seeing him happy, fulfilled, and peaceful.
My greatest proof of love for him was my commitment to seeing him happy, fulfilled, and peaceful.
If there is any advice I can give you, it is this: Life comes at you fast sometimes, and you can’t always ensure that you’re in a good mood. Relationships aren’t easy sailing. But you owe it to yourself, and you owe it to your partner to continuously be the best person you can be. And you shouldn’t accept from a romantic partner anything less than absolutely everything you deserve.
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