We accept the love we think we deserve.

When I found the image above from my cousin’s Facebook page, two things came to mind: 1) I had no idea the guy loves to read! and 2) This quote just hit bull’s eye.

Of course I did not mean any offense with number 1, I just thought that being a nurse, he had no extra time to read books that aren’t nursing-related. Also, I was just surprised that he actually posted something with emotion. You know how guys are, except for the expressive ones that have no qualms on being out there, if you know what I mean.

But this post isn’t about the fact that my cousin actually reads books for leisure. No. As conceited as it sounds, this is about me…and why I felt as if the green circle above slapped me hard in the face.

I never had a conventional relationship. Except of course the one I have now, which started when I was twenty.

My first “relationship” (if you can actually call it that, and I say it with disgust) was when I was twelve. Young, right? I get so embarrassed whenever someone asks me how old I was when I first had a boyfriend. In my defense, it was really accidental. The guy thought I said yes to him, when in reality I only said yes about him courting me. And my foolish pre-teen self didn’t even bother to correct it because admittedly, I loved the attention.

You see, I grew up insecure. I was tired of hearing how my younger sister was prettier than me, or that my sister was sweeter than me. I was always the smart one, and I took pride in that. However, it feels as if I kept being overshadowed by my sister. I was forgettable.

And so when I was about ten, admirers started making their presence felt. I was thoroughly annoyed, except for the cute boy whom everyone had a crush on. He had the cutest dimples and very expressive eyes, he was also intelligent. That’s all I thought at that time, actually. (Hey, I was only twelve!)

It only lasted a month. Whenever people refer to him as my boyfriend, I would get annoyed. I always avoid him, and whenever he sits beside me, I push him away. I entertained other suitors, despite the fact that I was “involved” with this other kid. If my twenty-three year old self was there, she could’ve slapped the little bitch. It was wrong, it was rude. By the age of twelve, I was already a heartbreaker. Slut.

We accept the love we think we deserve. I loved the attention, because I needed attention. He was popular, being associated with him made me feel good. That was just it. And really, I am truly ashamed of that part of my past.

We accept the love we think we deserve, and similarly, we deny the love that we think we don’t deserve. I kept pursuing those who weren’t good for me, and I kept on turning down those who were true to me.

Back in the day, I entertain boys who I feel are interested in me. I let them in, only to push them away when things get too serious. I get overwhelmed by the affection and concern they show me, and for some reason, that puts me off. For years, I was like this. Getting close, but always far enough.

There’s this part of me who likes being tortured, and honestly, I have no idea why. Perhaps a result of watching too many romantic movies and fairytales? Or maybe, I just loved the chase.

The second actual relationship I had was what made me realize what I truly deserved…and it wasn’t him.

There’s a saying that what goes around comes around, and I guess it’s true. In my past I broke hearts, and when I finally fell in love…I fell hard. Hard enough to break me.

He was my best friend for years, and as time passed, we fell for each other.

The catch: he had a girlfriend.

People may hate me for this, but I actually reveled in the idea that he loved me more than his girlfriend. Whenever he tells me that he loves me, and that I was more important— it made me feel good, it made me feel wanted. When he broke up with his girlfriend, I felt triumphant that I was able to take him away. It made me feel powerful, it made me feel beautiful. As long as he was mine, I didn’t care about the rest.

We lasted for two years. When it ended, I lost not only the man I loved for years, but also my best friend. I know I was the one who put an end on it, but really, would I end it if I was happy? I realized that I loved torture, but only to a certain extent.

We accept the love we think we deserve. The pain I got from this relationship was twice the joy I got from it, and I guess that’s what I deserved. I had no self-respect. I didn’t love myself. I relied on others for making me feel good. And so that’s what I got, what I truly deserved— a bitter taste of my own medicine.

After the whole predicament, I focused on myself. For a couple of years, I didn’t date anyone. I focused on my studies, and eventually, on my new job. I made new friends. I went to parties, I had fun. I enjoyed my life, I learned to love myself. I realized that I don’t need a man to make me feel complete.

That was when I met my current boyfriend.

It was unexpected. I wasn’t really looking, but he came.

We took things slow. Too slow, actually. I was very slow, I didn’t even realize he was courting me until he said it to me directly. I guess I just didn’t want to assume, and I really wanted to do it right. For once, I wanted to have a normal relationship.

I fought against my natural instinct— the one that gets cold feet when things get serious. I gave the guy a chance, because for once, I thought I deserved true love.

We accept the love we think we deserve. For years after my last relationship ended, I told myself repeatedly: I am worth it. I deserve to love, be loved, and not get hurt. I deserve to be happy, truly happy, without sacrificing the happiness of others. I deserve someone who would look past my imperfections, who would see me for me, who would respect me. I deserve someone who would support my decisions. I deserve someone who would fight for me, someone who doesn’t care what other thinks as long as he’s got me. I deserve someone who deserves my love.

And most of all, I deserve a happily ever after.

We accept the love we think we deserve, and in the end, that’s what I got. :)

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