We accept the love we think we deserve


Over Christmas I read the book and watched the movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” The most quoted line from the novel and the tagline for the film is, “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

I’ve found myself thinking about this often the past month or so. And after thinking about it so much, I agree with it, but I also believe some of us think we deserve a lot less than we do.

We all grow up with different lives and different experiences that affect us and shape us into who we are and shape our outlook on life. I’ve had highs where I’ve felt on top of everything in my life and I’ve had lows that I could barely pull myself out of. I’ve had lousy jobs, but I’ve had jobs I love. I have a loving family, but our family often knows how to hurt us the most. I’ve had great friends who would do anything for me, but I’ve had friends who have stabbed me in the back and cast me aside. I’ve had fantastic, loving boyfriends, but I’ve also been in terrible, tumultuous relationships. I’ve made extremely good decisions in my life, but I have also chosen very poorly. And as I’ve gone through the highs and lows, what I thought I deserved out of life has decreased and increased, back and forth over the years.

Others’ treatment of us often affects what we think we deserve. I’m not necessarily pointing this out because I think we should all go take a hard look in the mirror and to expect better of ourselves and set higher standards — we do know that. I’m saying we need to use that knowledge to better serve others. We need to be the confidant, the friend that tells our loved ones they deserve so much more than the mediocrity they are grasping at.

We all watch the people we love beaten down by jobs they hate. We watch them go back to toxic friendships. We watch them stay with the girlfriend or boyfriend who treats them with no respect and makes them feel that no one else will ever love them, that they are nothing. We watch them try to repair familial relationships purely by rolling over and blaming themselves.

Sometimes life breaks us and we need help to repair ourselves. No one needs to be reminded that life is hard, but sometimes they do need to be reminded they can do hard things. And we should be that reminder.

LDS leaders stress to us that we are children of God who should be treated as such; we have heard it all our lives, but for some it hasn’t sunk in yet or they have forgotten. Others who may not believe as we do may not know either. And sometimes they need someone to take them by the hand and tell them. The people who know our faults and weaknesses, but who stay by us and also see our exceptional strengths and talents — sometimes we need them to tell us we’re shooting too low. We need to hear it from them that we deserve to be happy, that we deserve respect and that love shouldn’t hurt.

I appreciate the times in my life that people who really cared about my well-being have sat me down and told me I was better than what I was settling for. Where I’m at in my life right now I think I have a pretty good idea of what I deserve out of my education, my job, my social life, my family and my future family. But I’d venture to guess my loved ones, who see me as more than I see myself, would say I’m still selling myself short in some aspects.

I see the bad in the people I love, but I also see the great in them, and I consciously strive to make sure they know how much they deserve in all aspects of their lives. I’m definitely not perfect at it, but it is something I’m aware of, and I think it’s something important we should all be aware of.

Perhaps the next time we see our best friend, our roommate, our siblings or significant other settling for anything beneath their capacity, we could tell them they deserve more and why they deserve it. We need to give them the love we know they deserve.

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