- When I was a teenager, I let a very unattractive kid, with brown broken teeth kiss me because I thought I could do no better.
- When I was in my twenties, I went to a community college, not because I couldn’t afford better, but because I believed I couldn’t academically do better.
- When I went out in the world to get a job, I worked as a waitress because I didn’t believe I was smart enough to work anywhere else.
- When I was a woman, I married a man I’d only known for six month. I married him on the side of a highway, no white dress, no wedding reception, no gifts because I didn’t believe I was worth a big, beautiful wedding or a man who would love me after six months.
- And when I was divorced and newly dating, I fell in love with a diner cook who never showered or brushed his teeth, who smoked pot, wore dirty clothes and never wanted to have sex with me because I though he was the best I could find at my age.
When you believe you have value, when you believe you are worth not just a little but A LOT, you do not accept dirty, broken teeth, waiting tables in a beer and shots joint, or people who never shower or want to make love. You do not put up with neglect, disrespect, abuse, mind games, cruelty or anything else from someone who is dishing it out.
When you believe in yourself, you teach people how to treat you with respect. When you do not believe in yourself, you teach people that they can treat you anyway they want.
Curing love addiction is as simple as this: having a sense of entitlement. When you believe you are entitled to better treatment, you get it. Something in you changes and you no longer accept less. A perfect example of this is food. Even at my lowest, I would never eat food from a trash can because firstly, I can afford fresh food. Secondly, eating food from the trash doesn’t even make sense unless I were homeless, and might possibly die if I didn’t eat it. But lastly, and most importantly, I feel entitled to healthy, fresh, good tasting food that not only keeps me alive, but keeps me healthy and happy too.
So, if I can feel entitled about food, why not the people I allowed into my life? Why not feel entitled about work, education, income, friends, and so on?
Here’s one reason why: “entitlement” has had such a bad connotation to it. The rich have a sense of entitlement. Famous people have a sense of entitlement. Proud people have a sense of entitlement. We imagine individuals with their hands out, expecting more, more, more. And quite frankly, that is an ugly picture. Even in Christian and other western religions, it’s frowned upon. According to some religious teachings, we’re supposed to be humble and grateful for whatever we’re given. We’re supposed to be happy with scraps.
But I think that’s a detrimental belief, especially when it concerns close, intimate relationships. When we lack a sense of entitlement to who we should meet and fall in love with, when we have no clear sense of what we deserve, we accept darn near anything! We end up with scraps.
And let’s face it, scraps don’t taste good. And eating them is embarrassing. And being seen eating them is even more of an embarrassment. And so, you suddenly have this huge disconnect. At first you were grateful to have scraps. But then, when the scraps left a really bad taste in your mouth and left you feeling ashamed and worthless, you suddenly started to suffer and feel pain. You were torn between your belief in being humble, and this instinctual need in you to have better for yourself.
Love addiction is when we are at this point, we recognize we are eating scraps, it makes us sick to our stomaches, but we stay anyway.
Or, conversely, love addiction is when we do not realize we could be eating something better than scraps, (because we’ve eaten them all our lives) and so we keep eating them, thinking they’re great sustenance , but every time we take a bite, we want to vomit. We have no recognition that eating is not meant to be like this.
So, how do you create a sense of healthy entitlement? Well, you start by creating a set of values for yourself. Start to define what hurts you and what makes you happy. Make a list. And place boundaries around yourself. Let the good in; keep the bad out. The more you know yourself, the more you stick to your values, the more you begin to demand better for yourself. It’s a natural progression that comes from within and changes your whole life.
Someone on the forums recently posted this amazing quote: How empty of me, to be so full of you. So, my advice today is to fill yourself with a new sense of entitlement. Focus on your worth. Grab a copy of The Self-Esteem Workbook and start working!