By Jeanette Schneider
When you value yourself less, you tend to put up with things you shouldn’t. Knowing your worth or value is the cornerstone of how the world will respond to you. As you grow your worth, you will raise the standards by which you operate and of what you tolerate.
As a recovering, hopeless romantic, I want all couples to work out if possible.
Can you choose one another again?
One of my closest friends told me she chooses her husband every morning. She believes true love includes a hell of a lot of choices when the spark fizzles or times are tough. But there are times when trying doesn’t, won’t, or shouldn’t work, and it’s more important to choose yourself.
I chose men who hated themselves. They were liars and cheaters. I had chosen someone who loved me like my mother did when she was at her worst.
You will know.
Another friend recently left her husband. She was struggling with her feelings of having been unhappy for many years. He questioned her abilities as a mom and a wife regularly and resented her for a variety of reasons. She was beating herself up with guilt, but she couldn’t take the way he made her feel any longer. She was sick with indecision and grief. Three months later, she called me and said, “I woke up this morning and I knew. It hit me so clearly. I don’t want to be married to him any longer.” She chose herself.
For better or worse, we choose the relationships we enter.
My lack of self-esteem and my desire to be seen and loved caused me to choose men who were, to put it plainly, unworthy of me. They may have pursued me, but even when red flags waved, I chose to ignore them. Instead, I chose them back. I chose their red flags and all the eventual pain.
“This time will be different. He won’t do that to me. He’s changed.”
You’ll often hear people say they married their mothers or their fathers; their lovers were exact replications of others who had modeled their understanding of how to give and receive love.
I chose men who hated themselves. They were liars and cheaters with incredibly low self- esteem. They needed someone to make them feel better about themselves. I had hand-selected very handsome, charming narcissists on far too many occasions only to fall into utter heartbreak and confusion when the blackness inside them unleashed itself on me. I had chosen someone who loved me like my mother did when she was at her worst. When I finally realized the correlation between my childhood understanding of love and the patterns I remained in, I made a list of all the things I wanted to see and feel in my relationships.
This exercise works to reprogram your “picker.” It helps you understand the characteristics and qualities you’ve unconsciously sought out and select those who become the bedrocks of stronger partnerships.
Many times, the conflicts we are afraid of breed the greatest resentment.
Conflict creates understanding and intimacy. Women who have come out of difficult relationships and abusive patterns share that they are no longer fearful of conflict in their relationships. They found their worth, determined what they will and won’t accept in relationships, enact strong boundaries, and have chosen partners who respect them.
Allow yourself to use the words conflict and intimacy with your spouse or partner. Keep them in your mind. Marry them. When you want to run screaming, laugh instead. Look at the sky and thank God for giving you a chance to work on your marriage.
Excerpted from Lore: Harnessing Your Past to Create Your Future , in agreement with Balboa Press, . Copyright © Jeanette Schneider, 2018.