You deserve better – even if you don’t know it.
They say the grass is always greener on the other side – and this is never more true than when it comes to relationships. When you’re single, you look longingly at couples on the street, imagining they’re happier than you are. You get jealous of your coupled-up friends, wondering why they found someone, while you’re still looking. Are you just being too picky, or is there something wrong with you?
And yet, when you’re with someone, there’s often that nagging feeling, a little whisper in the back of your mind that wonders, ‘Is this all there is?’ Sometimes you think you’re happy, and sometimes you wonder if you deserve better – or if better even exists. Should you settle for someone you think you love, but who you’re not entirely sure about, or should you get out and try to trade up?
This might sound like game-playing – and in a way, it is. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Dr Phil (yes, that Dr Phil) has a saying: “Life is a game, and you either play, or get played”. He also quotes one of his former psychology professors as saying that 80 per cent of our decisions are based on what we’re afraid of, rather than what we want. And what’s the thing we’re most afraid of? According to the popular psychologist, it’s rejection.
So if rejection is our number one fear, and we let fear run the show most of the time, that means we all must be thinking about rejection an awful lot of the time. This, in turn, causes us to inadvertently sell ourselves short much too often. Here are six signs you might be doing just that without even knowing it…
1. You’re undervaluing yourself
Dr Phil says fear of rejection causes us to make decisions we might not have otherwise made.
“What if you married not Mr Right but Mr Right Now because you heard your biological clock ticking and thought, ‘Hey, a bird in the hand…’?” he asks.
“Do you continue to live with someone who mistreats you because you’re afraid to be on your own? Do you make safe choices even if they’re not what you really want because you fear you can’t do better?”
It all comes down to this: no one will value you if you don’t value yourself. If you think you’re not a catch, you’ll unconsciously transmit that belief to the people around you, as well. So stop thinking you don’t deserve the best, because you absolutely do.
2. You’re overvaluing others
Feeling good about yourself and what you have to offer isn’t the only thing you need to do; you also need to be realistic about the people you meet. Too often, we assume everyone else has it all figured out and doesn’t have any of the same doubts and insecurities we do. We’re so busy wondering if we’re good enough for them that we forget to ask whether they are good enough for us.
So next time you’re evaluating a new relationship prospect, or reevaluating your current relationship, turn your thinking around and consider what this person really has to offer you. When you really think about it, they might not be up to your standards.
3. You’re with someone who doesn’t challenge you
So you’ve got a partner who’s super cute, has a great job, is really smart, treats you well, is kind to others, and makes you laugh. What more could you want…right? A lot more, actually.
A relationship that doesn’t challenge you and inspire you to grow is a relationship that is doomed to end up dead in the water. You need someone with similar goals, and an outlook on life that’s compatible with yours. There are plenty of guys out there who are good looking, financially stable, smart, and decent – but who lack passion and creativity. They’re stuck somehow; they let fear make decisions for them, like Dr Phil says. If you’re with someone like this, you need to stop selling yourself short.
4. You don’t demand respect
A worthy partner should always treat you with respect. That means listening to you, and really paying attention to what you’re saying. It means considering your needs and taking them seriously, letting you know how important you are, and being there for you when you need them.
Your SO should know they’re lucky to have you, and show you that through their actions (not just their words). And they should always, always be honest with you and not keep things from you. If any of those elements are missing, move on. You can do better. Don’t get stuck in a relationship where you’re doing all the work.
5. You put up with things you shouldn’t
If your partner, or potential partner, speaks to you in a way you’d never let someone else speak to you, why do you put up with it? Because he’s hot, or good in bed, or pays for dinner? Maybe it’s because you’re afraid you’ll never find anyone better, or maybe deep down, you think you deserve to be treated badly. Psychologist Michael Broder, author of The Art of Living Single, says fear can cause people to get stuck in toxic relationships.
“Fear absolutely devastates some people,” says Broder.
“It can be the fear of being hurt, rejected or involved, and it can stem from a history of having been hurt or of traumatic relationships.”
6. You worry too much about what other people think
Perhaps you’re in a relationship you know isn’t right for you, but you don’t know how to break it off because you feel bad. You worry that people will think you’re shallow, or too demanding, or too arrogant. First, here’s how to quit caring what other people think of you. Second, know that rejecting someone doesn’t mean you’re judging them, or being cruel. Just because someone isn’t right for you, doesn’t mean they’re not right for someone else.
It’s a fact of life that we each have what Dr David Anderson calls a ‘social price’.
“The more you have to offer in a relationship, the more you can expect in return, thus increasing your social price,” he explains.
“Factors that help determine your social price include your ability to bring desirable traits such as inner strength, kindness, intelligence, and affection to a relationship.”
So, know your price. And don’t put yourself on the clearance rack when you belong with the luxury goods.
Main image via tumblr.com, GIFs via nbc.com, rebloggy.com, tumblr.com, and reddit.com.
Comment: Do you think you’re selling yourself short when it comes to love?