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Often times, as women, we find ourselves in very compromising situations. Situations where we end up choosing between our own happiness vs someone else’s. We end up sacrificing our own wants and needs to please others. Before we even notice what we’re doing to ourselves, we have already sacrificed so much that we don’t recognize who we have become.
Relationships seem to take the biggest toll on us. This is where we give up the most of who we are. No matter how successful, wealthy, beautiful or confident we are there’s always that moment when lowering our standards becomes okay. Society tells us not to be “too picky” or else we’ll end up unwanted, unmarried and alone. Nobody is perfect and I get that, but what exactly is being too picky? Shouldn’t you want to be picky about the people we let into our lives. We have high expectations when it comes to our hair. Our standards are high when it comes to where we want to eat and the service we receive when we go out. But why is it when it comes to men it seems okay to settle? Why are we expected to relinquish so much of ourselves, to just get disappointment and heartache in return? I have been in multiple relationships where I have been cheated on, mistreated, and lied to. I remember that feeling of sadness being the worst I thought I’d ever feel. I questioned myself a lot as if I did something wrong. I remember feeling disappointed in myself because I knew those behaviors shouldn’t be tolerated. I knew at that point I was settling, and for what reasons I did not know.
There was one time I found out my ex was texting other girls, one of many times, but this time in particular I was really hurt. I was probably really hurt because it had happened before and I believed it was something we had gotten past. I thought I was fed up and done with the whole situation, but I wasn’t. I loved him of course, and I wanted to believe that he changed, even though I knew it’d be the same thing in another couple months. I felt stuck. I didn’t know how to just let the relationship go. I wasn’t fed up enough to actually leave him yet. What held me there, love? It didn’t always feel like love to me. The love I gave him surely wasn’t always returned. I always knew what I deserved and I always knew how I should be treated. Although the things I chose to endure in my relationships did not reflect the truth in my heart. Why are we so willing to put up with a bunch of bull shit when we know better? We don’t tolerate lying or manipulation in any other relationship except the one with a man. We’re quick to cut ties with friends and family if they cross us wrong one time. Yet we let what should be our most peaceful relationship destroy our peace and over time drain our souls.
One night my cousin was over and we were discussing the situation going on with me and my boyfriend at the time. She was also telling me about what was going on in her relationship and we had our venting session on how trifling men were. I can’t remember what we were talking about in this moment but I remember her saying something like “I’d rather be with a beater than a cheater,” comparing her situation with her man to mines. I laughed it off, but I was shocked to hear her say something like that. In my head I’m thinking wow I cannot believe she just said that, that is not okay! Her situation is way worse than mines. But in retrospect we were both choosing the lesser of two evils. The truth was we had both decided within ourselves that we would commit ourselves to this heartache because one seemed better than the other. Why is it that when the red flags are revealed to us in the beginning, we choose to ignore them and continue the relationship? When boundaries are crossed we dismiss it and as long as we “talk things out” it’s all good. Where does that moment come when we realize neither is better nor acceptable? At this point trust has been lost. Resentment rest deep within our hearts. We have built a wall around our emotions. There’s all this hatred and anger inside of us and yet we still choose to stay. Walking away is a lot harder to do, we have convinced ourselves that it’s easier to stay. We don’t realize the damage we’re doing to our souls, or to our mind and bodies. When does it click for us that we have had enough and we will no longer tolerate the disrespect?
People say when a woman’s fed up there’s no getting her back, but I don’t believe that to be true. A lot of times we let things happen over and over and over again and we just become numb to it. We may feel fed up but we still have it in us to give them just one more chance. Us being fed is just the exhaustion. We say what we won’t tolerate but end up finding reasons why to tolerate what we said we wouldn’t in the beginning. Now as I think about what my cousin said, that statement was so powerful and it was a cry for help. Why do we have to choose? Wrong is wrong. We know more than anybody when we are hurt, embarrassed and humiliated. The problem is we don’t recognize our strength. We don’t think we can stand alone, and truth be told, we have everybody around us saying “give him one more chance” or “nobody’s perfect” and the best one yet, “he’s a man.”
At a very young age we are taught how to love and how to receive love. The relationships we see growing up are what we mirror as adults. Working at a group home with young girls I witness a lot of girls who are broken. Most of them have been abandoned, abused, and neglected in some way, and they are all looking for love and affection. Naturally they find that love and comfort in a young boy. I have noticed that the same conversations I have with these teenage girls who are no older than 16 are the same conversations I have with my girlfriends who are well over the age of 21. They have the same narrative, the same situations, just a different age. The question I ask is; when does the narrative change and does it need to change? How would we even go about changing it? Our minds are so consumed with finding a man. What about finding ourselves first? How about knowing who we are and what we want, so that when we are faced with chaos in a relationship we can recognize the signs quickly and remove ourselves. Self-love is the best love and should be your first love. If you don’t value yourself enough to set boundaries and put yourself first, nobody will. People will come in and out of your life, but only a few people are worthy enough to stay. Be patient with yourself. Learn how to treat yourself well before allowing someone else to come into your life and treat you how they want to. It takes time, but it’s well worth it in the end and we have the strength to be with just ourselves for a moment in time. Love is patient, love is kind. Remember those words.