This has been on my mind for quite some time. No matter who you are, race, creed, color, etc, I guarantee this subject has presented itself in your life at one point or another. Job troubles? Relationship qualms? Toxic friendships? The list goes on and on but one question remains the same: do you know your own worth? And better yet.. do you value your worth?
Let’s talk about the real kicker here – relationships. I think we’re all guilty of dating people who absolutely don’t deserve us. The moochers, the liars, the cheaters, the abusers, the self-obsessed, the immature, the jerk. Boy oh boy does my history include a line up of those prize gems. But you know the real gas here? They almost always land us on our rears, feeling like we’re the issue when in fact they’re the garbage. Sure, we’re all capable of having questionable moments or lapses in our best behavior, but the difference here is recognizing when you’ve been an ass and accepting the responsibility of correcting and amending.
They leave you wondering their feelings for you when it should never be question. Ever run into the person who reaps all the benefits of a relationship – the companionship, the affection, all the little things you do for them – until they’ve got something else coming up? A fight that suddenly emerges right before a trip? Magically they return to you once the trip is over, like ta-da! I could go on and on .. but the lesson here is recognizing your worth and how alllll of this nonsense just walks right on over it.
When someone walks away from you or the relationship falls apart, recognize it’s for a reason: it isn’t meant to work. Just because someone comes knocking back on your front door doesn’t mean it’s meant to be or they’re suddenly going to value everything about you they missed or took for granted the first time around. In my experience, they’re usually a repeat offender. Take it in stride, slap a smile on that beautiful face and go do something for you. Distracting myself and/or staying busy was always awesome to help get over a breakup, however lousy the dude was. Don’t wallow in misery, make yourself a mental (or actual) list of five things you love about yourself, however big or small, and hold onto that! Don’t find yourself accepting behaviors you normally would say hell no to: flirtatious or cheat-worthy behaviors with other people (this includes inappropriate texting or social media messaging), drug use, not caring about your needs, no drive or ambition, etc. Someone seeking (inappropriate) attention outside the relationship has some of their own insecurities to work on, don’t feel the need to fix it for them – or tolerate it.
Feeling like you were the problem is probably the most self destructive thing you could do to yourself. It’s toxic, miserable, and keeps you in a rut when you could be out blossoming in new found freedom. Learn from the experience and use it to create boundaries, not walls. Those boundaries will solidify that self love and strengthen your reserve.
I’m super guilty of losing myself in relationships – giving my absolute all and completely forgetting about everything and everyone else. Don’t do that. Stay true to yourself, your values, and the parts and people of your life you hold most dear. Someone who loves, respects, and values you is going to love and encourage you in those pursuits, because it makes you happy. Giving up what makes you happy once turns into a cyclical habit – before you know it you’re separated from the jerk who broke your heart, the friends you miss, and the hobbies/past times that gave you such joy.
That being said, don’t stay in a bad relationship simply because it’s comfortable or for the fear of being alone. The warm blanket syndrome is suffocating at best, toxic at worst. Trust me, Charlie and I have lived states and countries apart for years – I know the despair of being alone when it’s not ideal. Knowing your worth and valuing said worth means knowing when to stop, when to walk away. You deserve all the butterflies, nervous stomachs, and jitters that comes with being around someone who is equally crazy about you and the time they have with you. Don’t be someone’s warm blanket.
Just like we negotiate our salaries or pursue jobs that either value our skill sets, contributions, and knowledge, or just plainly make us happier – we should do the same in our relationships. You are loved and lovable – if you find yourself needing the reassurance from your partner, something isn’t quite right. Reassurance turns into the need for validation which can quickly escalate into neediness, yikes! Should you find yourself with someone or in a relationship demanding any of these emotions or actions – consider the situation and contemplate your next step. Do you see the future getting better with this person or worse? Do you see your happiness or do kind of cringe? If you aren’t bringing out the best in each other, you have your answer. Like I said, slap on a smile, put on some lipstick, and greet a happier future. You DESERVE it.
I’m also sharing some of my favorite feel-good, tummy hurting laugh books with you guys. They’ll either lift you up, crack you up, make you cry or just hook you right in. I hope you love them!
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Photography by Rebecca Patton Beckley Photography