I was out and about the other day and may have overheard two young men talking about this girl. (Okay fine, I was totally eavesdropping. I’m terrible.) One of the guys, after expounding on the fine qualities of this young woman, paused and said, “It would never work. She’s too good for me.” I could hear the defeat in his voice, the causal dismissal of his own worth. And I understood, because I’ve been there.
Perhaps we all have at one point in our lives. We meet someone and we’re bowled over, awe-struck, absolutely enamored. She is beyond lovely. He is perfectly wonderful. This person, we tell ourselves, could be the start of something amazing. And as we lose our breath over our fascination, we hoist them onto a pedestal to better admire them. We set them just out of reach. So while we long for them and the connection that seems to be buzzing between us, we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t have them.
They are too good for us.
They could never fit into my life because of my past and the things I’ve done.
She is too beautiful.
He is too handsome.
He is too smart.
She is too talented.
We create our own walls without even taking a chance. Like the gentleman from the coffee shop, we wallow in the defeat. We say no before giving the person who makes our heart skip a beat the chance to say yes. We let our insecurities, fears, and low self worth get the better of us. We talk ourselves out of it – out of the possibility of more, out of romance, out of something perhaps better than perfect.
We give our past more power than it deserves. We look backwards rather than forward, remembering every sin we’ve committed, every misdeed, every embarrassment. With each remembered indiscretion the chasm between us and the person we care for widens. We cannot forgive ourselves for the things we’ve done so we imagine they couldn’t possibly forgive us either. We deny ourselves grace and kindness, allowing our heart and soul to become embroiled in guilt and shame and loneliness.
They deserve better, we tell ourselves.
You deserve better. You deserve an amazing love story. Not a perfect one or a fairytale. But a real romance between two people choosing to love each other not despite your past, but because of it. Because your past brought you here to this moment with this person, and you deserve to be happy. You deserve to take a chance.
And they deserve it, too. Because as maddening and distressing as it is to be the person who doesn’t feel as if they are worth it, it is just as saddening and disheartening to be on the other side. I’ve sat on both sides of the table. I’ve lived both stories – feeling not good enough and being told I’m too good for him. There is nothing more heart wrenching than to hear a man say, “I care about you very much, but it could never work. You are too good for me. You deserve better.”
Because maybe all I wanted was him; a real man with flaws, issues, and a full life behind him. Maybe I’ve moved beyond wanting a hero, my own real-life knight in shining armor. Maybe I just want a man who cares about me and is willing to look at me and see not someone too innocent and fragile, but someone lovely and wonderful and worth the effort. Maybe I wanted to make the choice for myself.
We deny ourselves so much with this way of thinking. We only hurt ourselves and those around us. The truth is she’s not too good for you. And he’s not better than you. All the insurmountable things you imagine would get in the way of a relationship might not be a daunting as you believe. They are merely figments of our overly critical imagination.
The truth is, you are good enough. You are worthy of a loving relationship with a person who makes your heart swell with passion. You deserve the happiness that comes with being with a person who fits you and loves you and adores you no matter what sort of life you lived before you met them. But we need to be willing to trust and believe we are worthy of the love we long for.
We need to be strong enough to take the chance.
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