My mother settled for less than she deserved. She didn’t see her self-worth, so she let someone walk all over her. Abuse her. Neglect her. Take advantage of her. She allowed a toxic relationship to take control of her life and I had to sit there and watch.
As much as I hated the person who hurt her, a part of me also hated her for sticking around. I hated that she let herself be treated like a doormat. I hated that she didn’t see the value in herself that everyone else could see.
But watching such a strong, smart, beautiful woman settle for less than she deserved taught me valuable lessons. It taught me to raise my standards. It taught me to shove away my insecurities. It taught me to think more of myself.
Because of my mother, I am independent. From an early age, I realized I never wanted to rely on another person to bring me happiness or inner peace or a paycheck. I learned that the only person I can truly count on is myself so I better figure out how to make it on my own.
Because of my mother, I can taste an unhealthy relationship from a mile away. I know which red flags to watch out for when someone is lying or cheating or drinking too much. I know how to tell the difference between someone who genuinly cares and someone who is putting on a believable act.
Because of my mother, I keep myself guarded. I am careful about who I let into my world. I make sure they deserve my attention before I blindly give it to them. I make sure they are going to consistently treat me with respect and put in equal effort before I hand them my whole heart.
Because of my mother, I never let another person dictate my worth. I never listen too closely to what they have to say about me. I never let their opinion impact my opinion of myself, because I already know that I am sexy. I am smart. I am successful. I am valuable.
Because of my mother, I realize that the end of a relationship isn’t the end of the world. I realize that, just because I love someone, that doesn’t mean staying with them is what’s best for me. Even if we have a long history, that doesn’t mean I owe them anything. That doesn’t mean they deserve to remain inside of my universe. I am allowed to walk away at any moment. I am allowed to put myself first.
It kills me that my mother spent so much time in an unhealthy relationship, screaming and crying and questioning her own worth, but it helped me realize what I want (and never want) from my own future. It helped me realize how easy it is to fall into the wrong relationship. It helped me realize that I have to be careful to keep my standards high, because I can never let myself end up in the same situation that she was in. I can never let my expectations drop low.