We accept the love that we think we deserve. Have you ever heard that? I can identify with that.
There was a time that I accepted and soaked up the first adult female friendship that came my way because I thought that was the best that I could expect. But the truth is that it wasn't a very healthy friendship -- fraught with jealousy, painful manipulation, and one-up-man-ship, one that required constantly walking on eggshells so as to not upset the delicate balance that kept us all upright.
But that wasn't the best that I could expect. There was so much more that could be friendship, but I accepted less because I truly didn't think that I could hope for more. I hardly deserved more, did I? I was so broken. I didn't deserve more -- and I believed that.
Until I didn't.
Until I realized that, yes, there was far more that one could expect from friendship and that, yes, I absolutely deserved more. Not that I was somehow specialler than anyone else, but I wasn't broken-er than anyone else either. I deserved goodness and commitment and caring and trust.
The funny thing about beginning to recognize your own worth is that it becomes a lot harder to stay around people who don't. It's hard to stay around people who don't respect you enough to treat you like someone worthy of respect. And why should you?
That doesn't mean you act in cruelty. You stay kind... you stay caring. But perhaps it means that you don't continue to put yourself into their path. You don't give them the option anymore of treating you as less-than. That doesn't make you wrong. It makes you someone who respects themselves.
There's strength in that.