Value yourself because people often treat you the way you show them to treat you
Humility and selflessness are good qualities! Greed and materialism are bad qualities! Right? Yes…sort of. I want to blog about something I’ve noticed a few times now, and a lesson I learned from it.
As a codependent, I’ve always put my needs and myself last in relationships. I asked my then husband-to-be to buy me a cheap ring because I didn’t want to be selfish. After we married he was the breadwinner, so I lived cheaply and encouraged him to splurge on himself. I kept the house immaculate and catered to him because I felt like I owed him and didn’t have much value since I was “just” a housewife. Guess how he treated me? Like a maid.
On the other hand, my husband was head over heels in love with his ex-girlfriend. (Yes, that made for an awkward marriage!) She had demanded the best of everything…and she got it. She was no better than me, but she asked to be treated like a queen and she was. I quietly pushed attention and gifts away from myself and taught him that I was not as valuable as she was. He never felt like I was a prize like she was, because he had to work for her and compete for her attention, whereas I was the sure bet that he settled for.
I also had a long-term ex-boyfriend that was a financial drain on me. I kept bailing him out of his money troubles and he used MY money to buy me gifts. He would have fun hiking outside all day while I went to work. I got tired of that eventually and left. He soon fell in love with another girl…who made him work for her. Eight years later he’s still chasing that impossible dream. He waits on her hand and foot and spends huge amounts of money trying to win her affections. She isn’t a mean girl, but she wants a man to treat her well and as such, even though we are very similar for looks, intelligence and education, she’s a prize and I’m a shrinking violet.
Both of those men treated me completely differently than they treated the women who valued themselves and asked to be valued. It made me realize that hey, maybe I should expect a little dazzle too! What a conflict with my nature–which is to be shy and introverted and to feel guilty asking for things. Maybe there is something to the traditional courtship gifts of jewelry and roses? Maybe men need to see women as a prize to win over rather than the humble little mouse who doesn’t ask for anything? I think some of these traits are hard-wired into our biology. Maybe someone isn’t going to treat you like a valuable prize unless you let them know that you are worth having.
Now I’m never going to be a material girl, but I’m certainly not going to put myself last anymore. I’m a prize myself and how I view my value determines how others will as well. Lesson learned!