Love Thyself

Leontine Vreeke

Leontine Vreeke

3 mins read

If I should give one piece of advice to a group of people it would be, love yourself and show it by having respect for who you are. It sounds easy, or even as a no brainer to most people, but I had to go through some rough times to truly take these words to heart.

I was in a long lasting relationship. Strong, handsome guy. Educated. Funny. A great cook. All a girl can ask for. After being together for eight years, things changed. We both experienced trouble at work; he got laid off and in that same period of time I lost one of my biggest customers. And just when I thought, it could not get any more worse than this, the universe showed me it can. My significant other got sick. Seriously ill.

It took the doctors about seven months to figure out what was going on with him. In the meantime he was using very heavy medication to fight the agonizing pain in his muscles and nerves. He could not work.

And I did what I had to do, and could do because I was healthy, to keep our household going. His health improved after the diagnosis and with other medication but it took years.

And all that time I was trying to do the right thing, just get through the rough times and stand by your man as Tammy would say. No, I was no angel. Believe me. The stress of finding customers, getting my staff paid, delivering quality work to my customers and trying to be a good looking woman with a nice social life and being a loving partner got to me. What got to him was a depression and the inability to provide for us the way he wanted to. To be that funny, witty and charming guy I once fell in love with.

So after a few years of being in this situation we had a fight. A big fight. One of those fights that will bring shattered plates and neighbours stopping in the street so they can catch a word or two to sooth their curiosity. He called me names that no woman should hear. And I told him that. Let’s argue, let’s fight but please not this. And he agreed. He apologized. A few weeks later it happened again. And again. And again.

Every time he would apologize and say that he would change. And because I loved him and just wanted to move on to a better future, with him, I forgave him. Untill one time, after one of those really ugly fights he told me “well you better get used to it because I am not going to change”. I froze. Those words were hitting me hard. I had to force myself to stand tall, look him in straight in the eye and say “I will not live in the same house with a man who calls me these names everytime we have a silly, stupid argument. Watch me!”

It still took me three years after that to end the relationship. To walk away from what used to be a wonderful life, my love, now tarred and infested by this disrespectful behaviour. But I had to start to show some respect to myself. To truly love who I am and where I stand for. Even when at that time it broke my heart.

Now I am proud of myself of making that choice. I know my worth. I love myself. I am a stronger person now with clear boundaries of what I will accept and what not. So love thyself. And don’t you forget it. Ever!