By Matt Walsh
Jan 29, 2014
Don’t ask anyone to “accept” the bad parts of you. Instead, strive to improve those parts. Make yourself worthy of the love they’ve offered you.
I was perusing my Facebook Newsfeed today and I came across a status that said this:
“Yea I’m a b*tch but deal with it. I wont be with anyone who cant accept all of who I am!!!”
This was a grown woman. Apparently college educated. Older than me.
It reminded me of a meme we’ve all seen a thousand times. It has a few variations, but it usually goes something like this:
If you can’t accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.
This is such a popular sentiment that it has its own Facebook fan page with over 150,000 “likes.”
It shows up all the time on memes and illustrations like this one:
Of course, the original quote is from Marilyn Monroe. It’s even more vapid and nauseating when taken in its full context:
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
Out of all the profundities ever uttered, what does it say about our society that THIS is the quote we’ve decided to take to heart?
It says that we need to read more books.
Also, it says that we are horrible at relationships.
Yes, it’s true that, in a marriage, we must love our spouses in spite of their flaws. It’s also true that we all have flaws. But it’s ALSO true that only an infantile, spoiled, egotistical brat would ever treat a loved one with “her worst” and expect them to deal with it because her “best” will somehow compensate for it.
Newsflash: It’s not OK to be selfish, impatient, and out of control. These traits, while common, are UNacceptable. They should not be accepted, least of all by the people you claim to love. The onus is on YOU to change your behavior and your attitude, not on them to “handle it.” Are you such a gem that they should thank God for the opportunity to be emotionally abused by you, if only it earns them a chance to bask in the glow of your superiority?
Perhaps that’s how you see it, but I’ve never met anyone quite that charming.
Newsflash: It’s not OK to be selfish, impatient, and out of control. These traits, while common, are UNacceptable….The onus is on YOU to change your behavior and your attitude, not on them to “handle it.”.
This philosophy is poison, and it stretches beyond one offensive quote from a 20th century Playboy Bunny. Often I read or hear people whine that they ‘just want to find someone who will accept them, no matter what.’ But being “accepted” should not be our relationship goal. Healthy relationships are loving, but also challenging, edifying, and even occasionally painful.
Accept. Definition: to receive with approval or favor, to agree or consent to.
Should our selfishness, impatience, and weakness preclude us from being loved? No. But should these traits be “accepted”? Should they be “received with approval or favor”? Should our loved ones “consent” to them?
Enormous, loud, screaming no.
Should we scoff at our husbands or wives or boyfriends or girlfriends and flippantly tell them to “handle it,” as we behave in ways that will hurt and offend them?
No. And if you think that — if you REALLY think that — then you shouldn’t be getting into relationships at all. You aren’t ready.
Further, does our “best” (which probably isn’t as great as we imagine it to be) make up for, or negate, our “worst”?
No. Your worst is your worst. Fix it. Be better. Nobody should have to put up with it. Least of all the people you love.
Love is a transformative force, and if you want to experience it you better be ready to change in every way imaginable. My wife does not “accept me,” and thank God for that. She challenges me. She makes me better. In other words, she loves me.
What kind of a pathetic and dreary goal is that, anyway — just wanting to be “accepted,” tolerated, put up with? That’s not why we’re put on this planet. Life is not about gaining “acceptance.” Life is change. It is not static and stagnant, do you really want your relationships to be?
We don’t emerge into the world as eternally entitled princes and princesses. We come into it as naked, crying, helpless babies. Our job is to grow out of that condition. And that will take a lot of changing and a lot of learning about what parts of us are unsuitable and insufficient and unacceptable. Sadly, some of us are unwilling to endure that process, so we never grow, and in failing to grow we fail to live. It’s a tragedy.
Don’t ask anyone to “accept” the bad parts of you. Instead, strive to improve those parts. Put in the effort. Make yourself worthy of the love they’ve offered you.
Forget what you learned in elementary school. The only “participation trophy” you’re awarded from life is death. That’s the one thing we all get just for showing up. In the meantime, if you want something better, you have to earn it.
That means if you want better relationships, you have to earn them, too.
Matt Walsh writes regularly at themattwalshblog.com.
This article has been adapted from its original version.
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Matt Walsh is a 27-year-old blogger, talk radio host, husband, and father of twins.