We accept the love we think we deserve.
This is of course a notable quote lifted from both the book and recent movie entitled ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ although I swear I heard of this quote years back, only that I can’t seem to place the source or occasion now.
Indeed, we accept the love we think we deserve. This is especially true in the case of, but not limited to, abusive relationships. I know of two persons who grew up in families with an abusive patriarch. And to a certain extent, I find them both ‘damaged’ though they are now well into their adult years – one goes from one abusive relationship to another (although she will never quite admit it) while the other lives in constant fear of her father’s potential lashings. In short, I find that they don’t love themselves enough – one is such a tireless attention whore while the other is just like a… wallflower who expects too little from her loved ones. Two extremes but to me, the quote rings true.
How can that ever be healthy? Or even normal? But will I, as a bystander, ever understand what they have gone through? The answer can’t be more obvious.
As much as we like to judge (it is human nature to be judgemental), we will never totally understand another person or their life experiences. Even if we take heed of the advice Atticus Finch gave his children in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to “climb into someone’s skin and walk around in it”. Atticus is my idea of a hero and ideal man, by the way.
The one notable life lesson that has followed and haunted me for the last couple of years is that I need to internalise what is truly meant by emphatising. And accepting.