What kind of love do you think you deserve?

"We accept the love we think we deserve."

This is one of my favorite quotes from Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being A Wallflower.

It's pretty powerful, and brings up an important question: what kind of love do you think you deserve?

Do you believe you are worthy of deep, unconditional love? Because I know you are, and I want to make sure you know that, too.

Here's the thing: in any relationship, you get to decide what kind of love you truly deserve, and what you are and are not willing to accept. And that is much, much easier to do when your own 'worthiness muscle' is fully flexed.

Strengthening this muscle can be challenging. It's also one of the best things you could ever do for yourself. It starts with awareness — catching any story you have about being unworthy in action.

Then, once you are grounded in the truth that you deserve love and full acceptance, you can explore whether or not a particular relationship is a fit and properly reflects that truth back to you.

During the times in my life when I was the hardest on myself — when I  was questioning my choices, felt like I was in a funk or like I didn’t have much going on in my life or my career — I attracted partners who mirrored my own self-judgments right back to me.

I dated people who loved me conditionally, who only wanted to be around me when everything was going smoothly, and who accepted parts of me but didn’t want to deal with the full picture. And it makes sense, because I didn’t want to deal with the full picture of my life either.

So whether you’re in a relationship or currently longing to find the love of your life, start with the person looking back at you in the mirror. Learn to love the crap out of yourself first, and let go of any and all stories about your unworthiness, because — I promise you — they are just stories.

Start here: think of a kid or pet you love — any little being you think deserves the world and a lifetime of joy — and ask yourself: what kind of love do they deserve?

That is the SAME kind of love you deserve, too. Truly.