In Search Of “Deserve”

Photo by Alex Clark

I always thought I was a strong person. But when it came to matters of the heart, I crumbled. Some call it being a romantic, while others might classify it as desperate or even weak. Whatever you call it, I was a mess when it came to to love.

Chance meeting an awesome guy who happened to enjoy many of the things I did. It didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels in love with Jon. We ran together, we cooked together, we played. We had fun. We had fun doing anything and everything together, whether it was camping or a night on the town.

Things were perfect. I was in love and elated with life. It was that kind of love you long for. The kind of love where your heart aches for the person, and you can never get close enough. Have you felt that ever? Oooohhh….it’s the BEST.

But then, the games began. Certainly, it all started with something minor that snowballed into something major. Who knows what it was, but it always ended up being a big enough deal for one of us to pull away.

First, we would take a “break.” Then the “break” would turn into us talking a little on the phone, and then we would start over. We would start over, brand new, with the promise of being stronger and closer than ever.

It was wonderful. And it was horrible. He would love me one day and change his mind the next. Maybe he was a commitaphobe. I would leave, but we always ended up back together. Each time, I remained hopeful that this time would really be different. Each time, I was disappointed. My heart began to hurt.

There were many things I could ignore, but a bleeding heart needed tending to. This time, instead of putting a Band-aid on my heart and going on with the relationship, I set out to mend it completely. I picked up the phone, and I found a strength that I never knew existed…

I was blunt, I was direct, and I was serious. Everything I wanted out of the relationship, I asked for. Everything I needed, I demanded. I laid it down and put it all on the line. I deserved love, and I deserved to be loved, everyday, without fearing that it would leave. After the conversation, I felt stripped and bare. There was nothing left unsaid.

I was relieved, but terrified, and I wondered for a moment if I did the right thing. Because truthfully, I really wanted him to want me, and it could all come crashing down now.

Jon needed to think about all of this. I’m sure it was a lot for one person to digest, and I didn’t want a hasty, half-hearted answer.

Jon came back to me, and we ended up together and truthfully very happy. It was as though what I said actually registered. There were no more games to be played… that was no longer an option. I was proud of my strength. Strength had paid off!

A good six months went by before things turned. Again.

Where was I? I can’t remember. What sparked the drama? Who knows. What was said? I remember exactly. “You deserve much better than me.”

I thought I would argue. I thought I would say: “No, you are amazing. You are great. I don’t deserve better. I deserve you.”

But that day, I realized that I truly was a strong person. I loved myself, and I wouldn’t settle. I replied, to my surprise and satisfaction: “You’re right. I deserve better than you.”

I never looked back. And I never settled for anything less than what I deserved.

The problem is, we settle too easily. We put up with things that we’d rather not, and we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We’ll never be perfect, no, but that doesn’t mean that we ever settle for anything less than the best. I learned that until we realize our true worth, no one else will believe in our value.

Surprise yourself. You have the strength to demand the best. You deserve the best. I promise.

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