Dear women, you deserve tenderness. You deserve hands that will hold you with care, but also empower you. You deserve to be treasured, but not regarded as fragile. You deserve to be seen as a wonder, but as someone who is worthy, even, and especially because you are a female. Because you are an equal.
Dear women, you deserve a man who will be there. You deserve, not to have things handed to you, but to be helped when those goals are out of reach. You deserve a partner who will build you, not break you. You deserve a counterpart who will raise you up, even, and especially, when that makes you appear stronger than him.
Dear women, you deserve love. You deserve kindness and care, eyes that see you and a mind that longs to connect with yours. You deserve a voice that is not undermined, even, and especially, when a man does not agree.
Dear women, you deserve to be valued. You deserve to be noticed. You deserve to be appreciated and respected and listened to, even, and especially, when your answer is no.
Dear women, you deserve what you put out into the world—passion, love, strength, and care. You deserve a man who will understand the desires of your heart and not feel emasculated by them. You deserve a man who will not ask you to change to fit his ideal, but will grow with you.
You deserve a man who will not ask you to compromise your identity to be with you, even, and especially, when you are comfortable in your own skin.
Dear women, please never allow yourself to bend or break for a man who does not see your worth.
Do not confuse love with lust, with egotistical desires, with someone’s wish to have you a certain way, a way you are not comfortable being.
Do not confuse love with someone’s selfishness. Do not allow something that doesn’t feel right to have power over what happens, or the way you feel.
No man who loves you will step on you. No man who loves you will dim your light, ask you to change, or hurt you in the name of love. No man who loves you will treat you with disrespect, will ignore your wishes, will put you in a place where you feel afraid or unsafe.
No man who loves you will make you feel as if you’re compromising yourself to be with him. Because that’s not love, that’s manipulation.
You don’t have to put yourself in an unhealthy position just to be ‘cared for.’ You don’t have to allow yourself to be stepped on because you ‘deserve it,’ because you’re ‘not enough,’ or because you’re ‘being taught a lesson.’
Listen, love is not about lessons. Love is not about changing someone to fit. Love is not about shoving down someone’s feelings, or being in a constant power play. Love is not abusive, scheming, or calculating. It is not hurting one person so another can rise up.
Love is about learning who you are as an individual and alongside someone else. It is about encouragement and passion. It is about genuine care, even in moments of messiness and frustration. Love is about seeing and believing the best in someone else, and continually pushing to be better people together, and for one another. Love is about mistakes and confusion and chaos and beauty. It’s about giving someone your heart and trusting they will take care of it, as you take care of theirs.
Love is not easy, but it isn’t meant to destroy you. It isn’t meant to be an unsafe place where you lose yourself trying to bend to someone else’s whims and wishes.
Dear women, please stop putting out your light to let a man who is unworthy of you shine. Please stop changing who you are to be what he needs. Please stop thinking you have to be less so he can be more.
Please stop telling yourself that this is love—because this is everything but.
Dear women, please know that the person you should be with will raise you up, not push you aside. Will inspire you, not cover you. Will praise you, not put you down. Will empower and strengthen you, not weaken you with words and actions. Will make compromises with you, not demand that you change until you can’t recognize yourself.
Dear women, if you feel unsafe or unsteady, if something is off or not right—please have the strength to leave. Have the strength to know who you are and what you are worthy of. To know that this is not love, and will never be.
Dear women, don’t compromise yourself for any man. And value yourself enough to not settle for anything less than the love you deserve.