“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.”
― Marilyn Monroe
There’s no record to show that Marilyn Monroe ever said this, but it’s attributed to her. It’s a quote that people don’t know in full and a quote that people seem to really like for some reason.
To be fair, you’re free to like it. If it resonates with you, then you should cherish it. But it’s such an odd thing to say.
Firstly, we need to address the “handle” part. I’m assuming that the person who wrote this meant that if you can’t be in a relationship with them, accepting their selfishness, impatience, insecurity, mistakes and berserk behavior, then you are not worthy of being in a relationship with them when these traits are calmed or eliminated.
I get that acceptance is important in a relationship. I get that no one is perfect and that everyone makes mistakes and has their issues. I get that love should not be withdrawn just because someone is having an episode.
But it sounds as if this person is ready and willing to withdraw their love if their partner is having difficulty with selfishness, impatience, insecurity, mistakes and berserk behavior.
Does this person deserve a partner if they themselves are not capable of handling a partner who is having a hard time managing the chaos?
Which then leads me to my second point: I question this person’s capability to love, not just loving others but also loving themselves.
One needs to hold oneself accountable. No one can accept another until one acquiesces to loving oneself. There are reasons that one isn’t loving to oneself and unless those reasons are uncovered and addressed, the negative behaviors will continue to come out.
Self-centeredness, impulse control and self-doubt are expressions of inner wounds. These are expressions that communicate to others that one is emotionally injured.
You’re extremely focused on getting your desires met because they weren’t met in the past, and so you have to use people or manipulate situations to get what you want. You have problems waiting because the pain of those unmet needs is unbearable. And then when things go awry, you question if your life can ever be good.
So while it is possible that people could love you, that doesn’t mean they have to subject themselves to being injured by someone’s selfish, impatient and insecure words or actions. If they want to be treated lovingly, they certainly can’t rely on this relationship, that’s for sure.
The third and final point is the “you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best” bit.
If someone was to stay in a relationship with someone who is mistreating them, do you think the person with the problematic behavior is more likely to change or to stay the same?
It’s the latter. If you keep rewarding someone who treats you badly, what is their incentive to change? If you want a student to get better grades, you don’t give them an A to motive them. You give them the grade they deserve and encourage them to do better. The consequence of not passing the test is having to do the class over.
Similarly, people have a standard of how they want to be treated. If they aren’t treated well, they won’t leave immediately. They’ll give you another chance to do better. But if you don’t, they’re going to leave and you will have to replay this same dynamic with another and another and another until you learn to treat others well. You are also going to suffer in the same ways until you treat yourself well.
So the great irony of this quote is that this person could and should say it to themselves. Because if they can’t embrace their traits and the root causes of it, they will never experience a better them.
If one cannot be there for oneself, how can one expect another to do it?
Marilyn Monroe had a really rough childhood, became a cultural icon but met a tragic end due to a barbiturate overdose. She was unable to successfully heal the pain behind her million dollar smile.
This quote which is attributed to her could actually be applied to anyone because we’ve all wanted to get to the love and success despite the internal issues which either block or sabotage love and success.
I sincerely hope we all get the help and healing we need in order to see ourselves at our best.
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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