I Want This, Not That.

“Sam: Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?
Charlie: We accept the love we think we deserve.”
-The Perks of Being a Wallflower

When you meet someone and they sweep you off your feet, it’s hard to believe that they would ever do anything to hurt you. You meet and a whole world of possibilities opens up, convincing you that this time will be different. You put your best foot forward and, with rose-colored glasses, you believe that they will make all your doubts and fears disappear. You have been hurt before, but it does not matter. When they say they will have your back no matter what, you believe them, because you have zero reason to doubt them. The relationship is brand new, and you wonder, “Where has this person been all my life?”

It is very easy to fall for someone in a moment when everything feels safe. To fall is to lose your balance and collapse, rapidly and freely without control. Falling knowing that someone will catch you is one of the greatest, most freeing feelings in the world. For once you feel like you don’t need to be the only one with the weight of the world on your shoulders, because you have someone else to help you carry it.

But what happens when things get hard?

What happens when that feeling of weightlessness disappears and you start to notice things about the person that you can’t stand? What happens when you discover that the planets are not perfectly aligned just for the two of you, and that the clouds that once parted, begin to fill up the sky again? What happens when you wanted to believe that you had everything in common, but the truth unravels, revealing that you are not as similar as you hoped? Do you decide that it is worth putting in the effort to make it work, or do you decide, “I didn’t sign up for this. I want something easier.”

If you haven’t heard already, let me be the first to tell you that anything worth having is not easy. If you are looking for something convenient, go to McDonalds. Love is not going to make all your problems disappear. It is not a movie where things are contrived to lead to your happy ending. That does not mean the person you fell in love with is not the right person, that means they are a real person, just like everybody else.

I think there are two kinds of people in this world: people who understand love is a responsibility, and people who don’t. Those who understand it will willingly put it the effort for the ones they think deserve it, because if they do not work on the relationship they have, they will have to put in work with someone else, or be alone and work on themselves. Either way, they accept that there is going to be hard work involved and embark on the option they think will make them the happiest. The people who do not understand it, will give up on their relationship and embark on the never ending search for the person who perfectly compliments their life, only serving themselves, and wondering how they will ever find what truly makes them happy. I believe that the second person can become that first person, but if and only if they learn what they want, embrace change and allow themselves to feel pain. They will not find the answer conveniently on Tinder, they will only find it by looking within and applying themselves when they discover what they want.

I became the first person who thought they could change that second person. I did not accept their effortless version of love and they did not know how to accept my difficult version either. I thought I could teach them how to be happy and work through their pain. I thought if they loved me, that they would willingly put in more effort. But they only knew how to love one way, and did not know how to adjust to change. I blamed myself for trying, and wondered why neither of us could make each other happy. I thought that if I could just make them see that I truly loved them, they would know that there are other kinds of love without deceit and resentment, but not without difficulty.

When things got bad and we reached an impasse, I began to wonder why I stayed and blamed myself. Why do people who want to put in the effort, stay with people who don’t? Why do people who understand how to get through struggle, stay with people who lack the ambition to get through the initial honeymoon phase? Why do we stay with the ones that make us feel like dating us is a chore, when we are putting in three times the work to be with them? Why do we defend the people that were Prince Charming in the beginning, but have disappointed us time and time again? Why do we choose the people who would pick the uneducated supermodel who says yes to everything they say, over the person who challenges their ideals and believes they can be a better version of themselves?

It is because we accept the love that we think we deserve. We accept people who mistreat us and make us feel like nothing, because that is the only way we have ever been treated. We do not want people who make us better, because we ourselves think we are not good enough. We let people tear us down in the past, so we accept that that is what love is and never ask for more. But, we need to know we are better than that. If you are with a miserable person, they will make you believe that you are not good enough, and that there is something better out there for them. It will hurt you. Tell them you hope they find someone better and pray for them to find happiness. Hope that they learn to appreciate someone, and go learn to appreciate yourself. If they want someone instead of you, and believe they will meet someone who is perfect, where the stars perfectly align, where they have everything in common, hope that they learn what to do with them when they have them. Remember that they once thought you were that person but they chose not to appreciate you. If you are that insecure where you think you deserve to endure pain, you are getting in your own way.

So take the time apart to fall back in love with yourself. Instead of fighting to make someone accept your love, direct that love toward yourself. I am making a conscious decision to never settle for less than what I want because I think I’m not good enough. I know that I will undoubtedly fall in love with someone who is not perfect, and I will accept them and make them feel loved unconditionally, but I will not do so at my expense. I understand that I need to put in effort and will willingly do that for someone who deserves it, but they have to know they deserve it.

I know that my love is valuable and that someone will respect it, but I want someone who gives me that respect in return. I want someone who challenges me as much as I challenge them. I want someone who loves themselves enough to love me. I want someone who does not breakdown and fall apart when things get rough. I want someone who does not fill my life with negativity. I want someone to wants to show me the world, not need me to be their world. I want someone to show me they care about me, not someone who shows me they know how to give up.

Don’t ever think you are asking for too much. You are just asking for what you know you deserve. Do not second guess that because someone tells you to, and do not hold yourself back for someone who doesn’t deserve you.


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