You don’t have to sacrifice yourself for love.
She came alone into my bridal salon, seemingly very rushed to try on a particular wedding gown and to place her order. I noticed how unhappy and tense she was and convinced her to take a deep breath and spend a little time with me for a brief “consultation.”
I knew the style she wanted was totally wrong for her slim figure and wished to help her make a better choice. She agreed, all the while nervously looking at her watch. I could clearly see that she was miserable.
Purchasing a bridal gown and planning a wedding is supposed to be fun, I told her. Why was she not enjoying the process? A kind word is all she needed, and she broke down and cried.
This is Caroline’s story: The man she was marrying was extremely wealthy and also very demanding. He was the one who had picked out the dress and made sure that she not “waste” her time trying on anything else.
This is what he wanted her to wear. He gave her only thirty minutes to purchase the dress and then get back to her house. He had her cell phone and her every move monitored and knew exactly where she was at any given time.
I thought to myself, “This is crazy.” The woman could have any man she wanted. She was an accomplished yoga teacher and extremely beautiful, intelligent, and personable. Surely she saw what she was getting herself into?
Caroline’s story is a classic example of women settling in a relationship that restrict and impair those who are willing to follow the rules set by their partners and have no voice of their own.
They give up their love, their passions, their friendships, and their lives for their partner. They fail to recognize the red flags that so blatantly stare them in the face.
A healthy relationship is supposed to add freedom and life to our existence. It is not meant to diminish us so that someone else can be made to feel better. It’s important to own your own power, have healthy beliefs, and speak your truth about yourself and your life to allow soulmate love to become your destiny. Giving up your identity for someone ultimately chips away at your self-worth and diminishes your self-respect.
You are worthy of love exactly for who you are. You don’t have to change, to prove yourself, to do anything except be yourself. In being you, you are worthy of tremendous love.
It’s so important to remember that settling in a relationship is not an option.
Here’s what you need never give up to be in a relationship:
1. Your sense of identity
Know that you are magnificent already. You may think that you’re not good enough, but don’t undervalue yourself or what you’re capable of becoming. You want to be with someone who appreciates you just as you are, even with your imperfections, because he really sees you instead of wanting to change you.
2. Your right to make your own decisions in your own time
Do what feels right for you and don’t give your power away. In relationships, there will be compromises, but even so, you must have the space to think and to do what feels fair. Give, but don’t allow yourself to be used.
You don’t have to settle, and there is no need to rush into any commitment if you’re not ready. Don’t allow others to control your happiness. Your instincts will guide you, so pay attention.
3. The right to choose who you let into your life
Any relationship that restricts you from seeing other important people in your life, such as your family and friends, and closes you off from the world is not worth pursuing. It’s time to break free.
This is manipulation, possession, and obsession, and it’s a far cry from true love. You are allowing yourself to be robbed of your self-esteem and personal freedom to choose.
4. The freedom to speak your truth
Sharing your thoughts and feelings candidly and with integrity and sincerity makes for a wholesome relationship. Your aim is to be heard and to be understood. Ultimately, it’s about being authentic, not giving away your self-respect, being true to yourself, and standing firm in your beliefs.