From brooding social media posts to well meaning-confidantes, it’s everywhere: Know your worth. Never Settle. You deserve the best (or better). For most of my life, particularly in my twenties, none of those things have ever sat well with me. Entitlement affects all generations for a number reasons, but our current era is awash with turned up noses and eyes avoiding the mirror, especially when it comes to both personal and professional relationships.
‘Deserving’ anything perpetuates this idea that we should only give in order to get something back.
That the only reason to be good to people or do good things for them is for recognition, validation, and affection.
That it’s everyone else’s job/responsibility to show up and be able to provide everything, and to do so perfectly.
It might keep the bad stuff out for a while, and it might keep the pain of loss and letting go temporarily at bay. But in the end, a deserving attitude will eventually lead to bitterness, cynicism, and resentment. I completely understand how difficult it is to move forward after a broken heart, but there’s nothing more frustrating (and exhausting) than bearing the blame for something that someone else did.
You can do all the right things, work hard, and practice kindness and compassion, and still the world does not owe you anything. The only thing you’re guaranteed is knowing that you paid it forward, and/or left something better than you found it
While it’s true that what you put out in the world does come back to you, it doesn’t always look like what you think it should.
But humility, and the practice of being humble, don’t necessarily have to equal putting up with disrespectful behavior or mistreatment. It’s a softer, more-grace filled approach to pursuing what’s meaningful and what’s healthy. For instance, my eating disorder recovery journey has taught me a lot about what I can handle, and where I need to draw the line. I’ve gotten a lot better at understanding that no relationship or career opportunity is worth risking my physical and mental health for, and that those things need to come first.
It’s not just solely about what I want anymore, because what I want isn’t always what I need. And it’s less about knowing what I need, and more about having the courage to speak up and tell the truth, even at the risk of rejection.
I need to take my time; it’s one thing to be spontaneous and go with the flow when you’ve established a sense of trust and safety with another person, but to expect and even demand that from a complete stranger is ridiculous.
I need open communication and support, even if it’s just merely letting me know that I’m not going through something alone.
I need affirmation and acceptance, but I also need to be called out on every once in a while. If you’re not willing to grow and evolve, especially with a partner, you will run yourself into the ground.
I need a willingness to take responsibility; don’t promise not to hurt me (or anyone, for that matter), but own it when you do.
If someone can’t do that, I don’t need to make them a villain or become a victim in order to let go.
It’s challenging to be realistic and get real at the same time. My life has been colorful and unconventional, but I wasn’t forcing a lot of it either. It’s a balance of what recognizing what I’m in control of, and surrendering what I cannot. I don’t want to spend too much time defining success, because then I ended up taking what’s important for granted.
I still have a lot to learn in this season, so there’s no perfect ending. But here’s what know for sure:
You can value yourself and be soft at the same time.
You can be strong and still need validation and support.
You can keep your heart open while trusting your instincts.
What other choice is there?