In my 25 years of working with girls and women, and doing research on the psychology of relationships, I normally receive similar responses to the same question I ask, “why do you accept feeling undervalued by this person?”
We know all too well those relationships I’m talking about - those that are sub-par, where girls and women tend to hang on to what little they get in return.
“I hang on to the tiniest morsel of love and affection because I think I can’t find anyone better.”
“But he sometimes buys me something.”
“Even if it’s a day or two later, at least he gets back to me.”
“He rarely compliments me, but sometimes he says nice things when we’re intimate.”
Sigh. The list goes on.
Girls and women tend to come up with a list of excuses when they talk about poor behaviors in their relationships, even though they know they may not be in the healthiest partnership. The hard truth about all this is that when girls tolerate feeling undervalued in their younger years, they tend to repeat the cycle as they enter into new relationships. If they’re settling now, they’ve become conditioned to receiving the same kind of treatment. Girls learn from a very young age what’s acceptable and what’s not. They also learn and watch behaviors while growing up in their own home, with their parents.
Many girls and women develop the mindset that if they’re not feeling loved, valued, or appreciated in the moment, they’ll hang on and take what they can get for fear of compromising or losing the relationship. It becomes a conditioned response for tolerating the unacceptable behavior, and this is where it becomes a relationship deficit.
Turning a new leaf and nurturing what you’re worth means knowing what you truly deserve from a partnership. This all boils down to self-love and a foundation of feeling worthy. The deficits come from not feeling good enough and accepting these kinds of low pattern-types of behaviors. Whether it comes out of fear or deep insecurities, it’s important to level up. We know that at low points in our life, we become more vulnerable and susceptible to attracting things and people that aren’t good for us.
Frankly, we all desire being loved and feeling valued, and not just on Valentine’s Day. It’s about feeling good enough inwardly in order to receive the right kind of love – the healthy love we’re deserving of.
If you have daughters, teach them early on what healthy love looks like, and the behaviors that foster acceptable, loving, worthy relationships. What we accept early on is what we learn what to accept later. If your daughters are going to date losers, then they’ve been accustomed to being in sub-par relations. Teach her about knowing her worth because if you don't, no one else will.
Truly feeling worthy is embracing what makes you feel good on the inside because you respect yourself enough to receive nothing less than what you deserve. Treat yourself with kindness, forgive your younger self for not seeing your worth, and know what you bring to a partnership. Strive to not feel stuck in a bad relationship and set up a brand new pattern of choosing what you deserve, not just what’s given to you - not tomorrow or next week, but today.
Love yourself first - this is your gift to yourself.