By Eberechukwu Orji
It would be right to say that there are a whole lot of people in the society today that have accepted mediocrity and abuse in every sense of the word. Most of us can give rundown of abuse that we or people close to us have or are experiencing in courtship. A friend of mine told me about a guy she was courting who was always skeptical about her dressing and the way she behaved in public. He would always tell her how to keep her hands, how to stand, when, how and what to speak about in public. You can already tell that he was ashamed of her. He just wasn’t satisfied with the way she was, no matter how good she looked or how well she spoke, or how well behaved she was. She was never good enough for him. And the truth is that she accepted this mediocrity and all the ill treatment that came with it. If she had not let down her guard (strong beliefs and will) she should have been able to raise high her chin, look him straight in the face and say “You know what? I do not need you”. But there she was feeling grateful that a guy that was more educated, wealthy, good looking and taller than she is could even look at her, love her, accept and court her. This is just one of the very few scenarios that depict poor self-worth in some individuals in courtship.
It is not a new thing to encounter folks in courtship that go through emotional abuse. Though emotional abuse may not leave physical marks, but they are just as destructive as physical abuse because they may launch an individual to anxiety, depression, addiction, and most times suicide. And just like physical abuse, they are primarily a means of control and a way for the abuser to feel superior, while the victim feels at fault. Individuals that place little or no value on themselves, but rely on their partners to feel loved and valued have a low self-worth. Most times these people do not realize how harmful this feeling of low self-value is to their mental health. In an attempt to please their partner, they lay aside their most priced principles that shaped them into self-loves.
It would interest you to know that prior to courtship; these individuals engaged themselves in activities that built up their confidence and value system. They used to have a good self-worth until they began courting someone who does not appreciate them. They merely reduce themselves to a ‘nobody’ and subject themselves to mental slavery to keep their partner happy.
In another incident, a lady purposely hurt the guy she was into courtship with. And when the guy decided to speak up, she feigned annoyance and walked out. But because the guy didn’t want to lose the lady, he went back to apologize to her. This is mental slavery and it needs to be fixed before marriage.
If your partner looks down on you and makes you feel small. If he carries himself with pride but limits your potentials, then it is time to set things straight. It is either you walk out of that relationship or you work on yourself and regain your worth.
To gain back your self-worth you must:
– Accept and Love yourself: Love who you are and care for yourself. Remember that no man is perfect. We will finally attain perfection when Christ comes to reign for a millennium. So you cannot be perfect, but you can be the best version of yourself.
– Embrace embarrassment as part of life: some people feel way too embarrassed when faced with embarrassing situations, and this reduces the way they look at themselves. You don’t need to feel too awkward since everyone goes through these situations once in a while. Rather embrace them, put on a smile and move on.
– Your Partner does not complete you: some people rely on their partners to make their lives meaningful. Don’t let your entire universe revolve around him. Invest your energy in transcendent goals and activities that extend beyond your self-interest by pursuing activities that make you feel great and important like being generous to the less privilege, being pro-social/humanitarian (volunteer in social services).
–Hold on to worthwhile principles: act in line with your own personal beliefs and do not compromise for anyone, not even your partner. That way he or she would hold you in high regard.
–Make concerted effort in maintaining personal integrity: stop comparing your educational, financial, social status with that of your partner. Stop thinking mediocre.
If you know who you are, no one can convince you to be who you are not. Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself (Harvey Fierstein).