My friend and I were out to dinner with my sister on Christmas Eve. My sister had asked about how dating was going after divorce. My friend answered: “Kristine and I are just trying to find men worthy of us.”
At the time, I thought it a rather high-handed way to describe what we were looking for. As if we were Diana, goddess of the hunt, looking to forget we were sworn maidens for life.
But since then, I realize her comment lacked hubris. What she meant was—what the f#*k, guys?
As I watch my lady friends, married or not, navigate relationships, I realize many of us have a fatal flaw.
We don’t claim our own worth.
We know it, ladies. We know what we’re worth when we enter this world. No baby says, “I’m hungry but I think I’ll just lie quietly here.” No. We cry. We make noise. We get our needs attended to tout de suite.
And as we get older, we learn how to attend to those needs ourselves.
And then, we date.
What happens? We date and play small. We ignore that he doesn’t call when he says he will, or walks five feet in front of us on the sidewalk. We tell ourselves that just because he doesn’t ask about our day or our family, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t really love us.
C’mon. We’re smarter than that. A little Diana never hurt anyone.
If we don’t know our own worth (and we do, deep down) and if we don’t claim our own worth—who the hell will? An extra 10 pounds, a bad day, frizzy hair—we berate ourselves rather than realize true love ignores all of the above. And none of the above make it alright for someone to devalue us.
My sister asked me, before my divorce was final, “Are you sure? Do you really want to go through with this?”
The answers, in order, were yes and no. Yes, I was sure. No, I didn’t really want to go through with the divorce but I had to.
My answer at the time was: “If I don’t feel I deserve better than this, who will?”
The price we pay for sitting at the dinner table or in the car with a man who has forgotten our worth—or never really saw it—is high. For those of us attuned to it, every cell in our body screams “no.” We are wired to be loved, to be cherished, to be given to as we give—fully, honestly, with reverence for how rare true love can be. Recognizing the worth of the person sitting before us—and honoring it.
When we ignore those cells, we die a little each day. We become a lesser, less confident version of who we once were. We become the baby who has ceased to cry because she knows no one is coming.
Good thing I’ve got strong lungs. And I know my worth.
For what it’s worth.