I make a lot of jokes about how long it took for me to convince Brittany (my wife) to fall for me. All totaled, I was stuck in the friend zone for the better part of 5 years before she realized just how hunky that bandana wearing climber hippie was.
I knew Brittany was a total babe and the nicest person ever from like the third time I ever hung out with her. Honestly, it may have been the first time, but we still don’t agree on when we “officially” met so I’m just gonna stick with saying I knew the third time to be safe.
But the truth is, and this is a big truth, that it took me giving up on her to turn things around.
Brittany and I had a very tumultuous friendship. We were always way too close to be friends but not close enough for her to make the jump into pursuing romance with me. For the longest time I thought it was her issue. I thought that she was blind to not see the true value of our relationship and how great we would be as a couple.
We spent nights awake for hours talking on the phone and most of our days texting each other stupid things. You get the picture.
So what transformed her perspective? I did—when I recognized and acted on my own self worth.
You see, it’s not very attractive to have a person throw themselves at you for years at a time. I put Britt in a very awkward position by forcing her into a role of the relationship barometer. By going through the cycle of relational turmoil (1. Let’s be friends 2. I love our friendship 3. Wait, I want to date you 4. Please date me 5. If you don’t date me, we’re not talking again), I gave Brittany all the power and consistently devalued myself.
Recognizing My Self Worth
In the time of our friendship we both dated other people. In the end, I broke up with each of those girls because it just wasn’t right and I stand by those decisions. But my foolishness did hurt some people and for that I’m truly sorry.
It took the powerful (and harsh) words of one such ex to plant the seed that would lead to the realization of my own self worth. After I broke up with this girl she wrote me a letter and she was, I’ll admit, a fantastic writer. Her pointed and tactile language cut me the way good writing should. Her most powerful line read: “I deserve to be the protagonist of my own love story.”
This was her way of telling me she deserved more than a guy (me) who had lukewarm feelings towards her and she was very right about that.
Acting On It
When I finally broke off our friendship, Brittany and I didn’t talk for almost a year. It was hard, some days I didn’t think I knew how to get through the day without calling her. That sounds like a joke, but it’s not. I know because I tell a lot of jokes.
Eventually I was completely and totally blessed by Brittany coming back into my life—but this time things were different. In the year without her I learned to value myself and that led to a healthy dating relationship.
But the funny thing is that us ending up together really isn’t the point of this blog post at all. The point is that I needed to learn to respect myself. And even if Brittany had never talked to me again—I still needed to learn that lesson.
I threw myself at Brittany blindly for years. I begged and pleaded that she love me as a man—but I never, not even once, acted like one. It took me respecting myself enough to walk away for her to see there was a strong person behind that bandana and plaid.
Brittany didn’t need to change the way she saw me. I had to change the way I saw myself.
You deserve to be the protagonist of your story--remember that all week.