It was in the classroom of my childhood that I received my first love lesson. I was raised with the belief that love was something to earn in the form of praise, approval, and permission, in return for being well behaved, smiley, charming, and “good”. Neediness was considered weak. Opinions were not welcomed. Mistakes were greeted with disappointment and retraction. And as a result, I entered adulthood, believing that love was a reward to be earned by pleasing, and serving the needs of others, but not myself. Self-Love was a memo I simply never received.
Getting What You Deserve
When it comes to love relationships, we attract the kind of partner we think we deserve. If the relationship we have with our self feels flawed, dishonored, or unworthy in some way, we project that self-belief out into the world, and we receive our mirror relationships. If we consider ourselves as a half, we attract another half. Always looking for someone else to complete us, and in return, we complete them. This particular type of relationship is founded in lack and neediness, and has a tendency to leave you depleted, resentful, disappointed, disempowered, and woefully unfulfilled.
Do the best you can, until you know better, then when you know better, do better – Maya Angelou
I intuitively knew that my childhood teachers were only doing the best that they knew how. My knowing better would arrive in the fallout of my failing marriage, and the heart breaking truth that once more, I had made my choices from a place of lack and fear, for the happiness of others, but not for myself. The suffering in living with the belief that love existed in another person, in a place, a situation, or a thing, felt anything but loving. It felt painful. Ultimately, the emotional price of not taking care of my own needs led to the ending of my marriage. But it would also mark the end of living in fear; and the beginning of waking up to the bliss of the love lesson I’d been missing all along.