Updated: Dec 16, 2020
I like to find interesting quotes on Pinterest, and one night I found, “we accept the love we think we deserve.” I had gone through a break up and thought about that quote for a while. It hurt to think it could be true and the more I went over it, the more I felt it was true.
I started examining every relationship I’d had and landed on the fact that for most of my adult life I settled into relationships with nice people that ultimately proved to be disappointing. I asked myself why I didn’t pay attention to the signs and on occasions big red flags warning me to walk away - or run.
I always had a reason as to why they weren’t bad for me. One of my best friends once asked me why I stayed with this one guy. My friend felt he wasn’t a match and didn’t make an effort to love me and treat me like a queen. My answer was, “at least he doesn't troll around in the bars…” Yeah, but he did a lot of other things!
I felt I should compromise and work on the relationship. I thought I should be more flexible and forgiving, after all, we are taught that relationships are hard. Yup, it is hard to keep the passion strong and to take on a big challenge together, but in a relationship you shouldn’t try to convince your partner as to why they should make an effort. You shouldn’t be less authentic so they will love you. You should not have to compromise who you are.
Yet, I’d done all those things. In every relationship, my partner placed their happiness on me. They depended on me to meet their needs, ultimately becoming controlling and leaving me to feel co-dependent. My self-esteem would plummet and I ended up like a wallflower, catering to their desires while I stayed on the sideline.
“We accept the love we think we deserve,” is a quote that first appeared in the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, written by Stephen Chbosky. I won’t give the movie away, but it is the answer one of the characters gives to the question, “why do good people sometimes pick mates that treat them like garbage?”
Indeed that is a very sensible answer.
In the Feisty Mermaids podcast (published on December 16) I dive into this question, but it comes down to our self esteem and the way we feel about ourselves. People who feel good about themselves and have self-love will attract partners that match that. People who don’t feel worthy or good enough will attract that instead.
So here are five signs to look for when asking yourself if you are accepting less than you deserve in love:
You feel like you can’t be yourself in order for your partner to accept you.
Your partner constantly brings you down and you don’t feel supported and championed.
They’ve proven to be untrustworthy on numerous occasions.
You give and sacrifice too much, with little in return.
You put your partner's needs before your own.
I now do daily mantras and I’ve started to introduce them to my daughter. It can be as simple as repeating something like: I accept and love myself, I am good enough.
I also followed the advice of a dear friend and started a list of the qualities I want in a partner. I didn’t hold back and the list is now three pages long! I will not accept anything less into my life. I deserve it.