The Love We Deserve

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky

As I look through my last few posts, I notice a theme: books and movies. Welcome to winter in northern Indiana. Last weekend I watched a movie I’m still thinking about: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. When I rented it, I thought it would be just your typical coming of age teen movie. A little funny, a little raunchy, and good for about 90 minutes of entertainment. What a wonderful surprise that it turned out to be so much more.

The quote above features prominently in the movie (and I presume also the book, though I reluctantly admit I haven’t read the book. Yes, my former English teachers are no doubt gravely disappointed. Watching the movie before you read the book is a cardinal sin.)

We accept the love we think we deserve.

In the context of the movie, it’s about struggling to understand why people we care about choose romantic partners who don’t give them the love that we think they deserve.

Sometimes it can be hard to accept that other people are going to make their own choices when it comes to setting the standards of behavior for those close to them. It’s especially hard when it’s someone we care about.

They accept the love they think they deserve. Not the love we think they deserve.

Relatively speaking, though, it’s easy to look outside of ourselves and see the ways in which other people are not living up to their potential. But it’s a little harder to turn that lens on ourselves. To ask tough questions, and not merely about romantic relationships. “How is my own limited perspective keeping me from getting the _____ that people who want the best for me think that I deserve?”

When we step outside of the box in our own thinking, imagining ourselves as an observer in our own lives, the things we learn may come as a surprise to us.

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