Trash vs Treasure

Love. This word elicits so many different emotions.

For some, it describes their deepest longing. For others, it describes their dream of a relationship. Still more, it stirs up hurt, disappointment and unrequited desire.

Why does that four letter word do so much to us?

We as humans are wired for connection. When we experience loss, betrayal, hurt, and abuse it affects us in profound ways and our brains are designed to help protect us from more of the same.

We are also wired to repeat what we know.

So often, I see beautiful people continually enter into relationships that are not good for them. It’s like a broken record. We stare and wonder how they could not see that this person is not a treasure, they are not good for them.

Unless we recognize the patterns we are prone to and actively work at not repeating them, we will return to them again, and again, and again.

We can only do what we know. We only know what we’ve been taught. Unless you learn something new, how can you be expected to do anything different?

This is a moment you can learn something new. A moment to take a step back from being in the midst of a pattern to gain perspective and interrupt an unhealthy relational pattern.

In my own journey to find love, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world around me. I’ve taken the online dating route, and boy, was that a bucket of cold water on this sheltered, Christian girl who was not acquainted with how the world worked.

Fast-forward 3 years of dating experience under my belt and a long journey of finding myself to the realization of today, “If you look in a dumpster, all you’re going to find is trash.”

I was talking with a good friend recently, discussing why I seem to just keep finding the same kind of guy over and over again. Maybe you can relate? Looks really good up front, says all the right things, paints a pretty picture. I dive head first only to find when push comes to shove, they aren’t all the things they say they are. Instead, they are empty inside ; a back whole that sucks you dry. They carry emotional baggage on their sleeve – unresolved, buried, and ignored – that they save as a nice little present for the next person.

It’s been a learning curve figuring out that trust needs to be earned. People don’t get to just be in your life. You’re a treasure and people need to earn the privilege of being included in your inner circle.

When talking with this good friend recently she said something profound, “I don’t think you find these guys, bb. I think most ppl are like this. We’re waiting for the rare unicorns who actually have pure hearts. Men who live by the spirit not the flesh.”

mm rare unicorns indeed.

This also is true, where we do the looking for love is just as important. Online dating aside, when you look for love in the wrong places and expect to find something of value, you will be sorely disappointed.

If you look in a dumpster, all you’re going to find is used, broken, and discarded things. Sure, you could find a few things that, with a little elbow grease, could make a comeback. Sure, a lot of that could have a lot more use left. Some may have been discarded by mistake. In each and every case though, they will take more from you than they will ever give back.

I’m all for the fixer upper and believe most people can experience healing and redemption. However, it is not your job to fix up a broken person in your romantic relationship.

Let me say that again.

It is not your job to fix up the broken and hurting person through your romantic relationship.

It has taken repeated events to realize I was, in part, doing this to myself. I was dating potential. I was searching through dumpsters to find the one thing that was sort of okay only to find that they were rotted inside.

We are too often desperate for love and too willing to just take whatever is readily available instead of doing the hard piece of waiting for the good stuff.

If you are feeling used up, sucked dry and discarded over and over again in relationships, it’s time to take a step back and put a stop to the perpetual pattern that you are unconsciously entering into.

You are a treasure worth working for. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve cried out to God, “Where are the good ones God? Do they even exist?” The whole reason I did online dating was because my current church culture is weird about dating and somehow need to get to know a girl for years on end before they take them on a date.

There’s nothing wrong with online dating, but know that you can hold out for the very best one. Live your life. Don’t stop everything just because someone cute is interested in you. You are worth pursuing, worth fighting for. If you compromise on that and do all the work in a relationship, you will find you will always be doing the work.

If you make excuses for behavior and don’t listen to your gut instinct that something is off, you WILL find out later and your heart and emotional well-being will be the price.

Wait to give your attention to someone worthy. Worthy people will have no problem investing. You want someone with equity, already full of things to give and not just out to suck you dry because they don’t have the strength of character to deal with their messes.

Stop settling for trash and start waiting for the treasure. You don’t have to sit idly by, you can still go on dates, you can still be active in that waiting, just don’t be so eager to throw what you have to give away.

Let someone build trust with you over time and show you they are a worthy investment for the treasure you have and are. Time to test things before you dive head first.

Let trust and time be your screening service for love to be able to tell the difference between trash vs treasure.

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