An inconvenient truth about relationships every single should know
Eleanor Roosevelt delivered a timeless line of wisdom to future generations when she said this: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
While the words of the former First Lady resonate with importance, the line has always fallen a little flat for me. I could never figure out what was wrong about it. Was this a classic case of overstatement? To whom was she speaking exactly? Did this qualify as a pep-talk? Because for me, it wasn't working.
The saying did not comfort me in a season of dating when "feeling inferior" seemed to be a recurring theme. Heartbreak, to be sure, has no winners, and in the case of love lost, no one plans on a broken heart—it just happens as a byproduct of a relationship's end. In most cases, both parties enter the relationship with high hopes that they may have found "the one" and both leave wounded when the relationship does not succeed. Sometimes, in your own pain, it's easy to forget that someone else is hurting the same.
Few things in this world threaten to make you feel more inferior than heartbreak.
At the end of the day, there's a lot on the line when you give your heart to another. People say that time is the most valuable currency we own, but I would argue that it is actually trust. Trust has the most damaging impact when it is used against us, and it is difficult to earn back.
Feeling inferior happens when we let the wrong person, or thought into our minds and trust it when we shouldn't. I think this is where Eleanor's thoughts on consent start to come full circle.
The inconvenient truth about relationships is this: You will tolerate inferior treatment from any person in your life only to the degree that you yourself believe it.
More self-respect: less tolerant. Less self-respect: more tolerant. In a healthy relationship, if we have a high view of our worth, we will only invite others into our trusted space who also treat us according to that worth. If we have a low view of our worth, we similarly will invite people into our lives who view us in this same way.
This has taken me quite a while to understand in the context of relationships, when boyfriends or love interests would disrespect my time, flake on important events, or dodge communication on big issues. The school of hard knocks taught me that I was treated this way mostly because I allowed it.
At the end of the day, relationships will always require trust. And P.S.—It's not a "freebie".
Unfortunately in the game of hearts, it's a pay-to-play. But trust must be earned through actions, not assumed. And while I don't have it all figured it out, I will say that in the end, Eleanor was right. Inferiority is the product of a false belief we hold true about ourselves. No other person can play into the idea of your inferiority without you giving them the time and space to do so.
Allow the right man an opportunity to earn your trust, but make sure you create the necessary time and space around the relationship to figure it out. There is no need to rush things. The world is full of potential, and there are men who will actually do the hard work to show you how much they understand your value. Wait for that one.