It's easy to convince ourselves that we should keep our standards and expectations at a minimum to avoid getting hurt. It's easy to look in the mirror and see nothing but the imperfections and flaws rather than beauty. It's easy to make excuses for people we care about and it's easy to be let down, even though we ignored those red flags and failed to see the faults a person has made because of something called love.

When you care deeply about a person, you see them in a way that is often false. Sometimes our image of what and who we think a person is doesn’t add up to who they really are in reality. Although, overlooking their flaws and imperfections isn't necessarily wrong. No one is perfect and in order to succeed in a relationship you have to be willing to love someone no matter the cost. The difference is whether you are overlooking flaws or settling for less than you deserve.

It’s okay to excuse the fact that someone never hangs up their towel or never picks up their dishes and it’s okay to excuse even bigger things. Bigger things like communicating their feelings, but convinced you they are trying to work on it. Maybe they have family issues they are trying to work through. The difference is, though, things can not affect their treatment of you. When the person isn’t treating you with the kindness, love, attention and effort you are giving them, it is weighing you down.

Everyone deserves a person who loves them unconditionally, even at their worst. A person they want to grow and blossom into a future with. Someone who is supportive and encouraging and wants to see them smile. Who will listen to their complaints, their hopes and their dreams? Who will laugh at the littlest corniest jokes? And will smile at you when you're not looking. Someone who is wholeheartedly happy to be with you. If you aren’t being treated like you are amazing and worthy, something is wrong. If you’re with someone who doesn’t see this light in you and isn't showing how remarkable you are to the world, you are settling for less than you deserve. And you should stop.

It’s hard. I know, it's really damn hard. You make excuses and justify their actions. You blame yourself thinking you could just change or try harder than maybe they will see how wonderful being with you really is. But, they won't. Don’t lose yourself trying to please someone else. Don't wrap yourself up in your whirlwind of emotions, because there is someone out there that will not only accept you but will love you on top of it.

That other person probably isn’t ready to give you what you need. Or maybe you just simply aren’t right for each other. That isn’t on you. That doesn’t mean you’re any less fantastic. Remember that. Tell yourself that over and over and then build up the courage to finally walk away. You are going to feel damaged and depressed but try your best not to. You will be fine and fully recovered in the long run. Remind yourself that all you’re doing, is choosing not to settle for less than you deserve.

And that is what I stand by.

I won’t settle for anything less than what I deserve because I know how much I can truly give and offer and because that type of effort isn't the effort I put into the people I care about. Unhealthy, toxic relationships halt growth and progress. So never settle. Be with people who make life better, not worse. Experience life with people who make it feel like living and not just existing. Those types of relationships are investments, the kind that will guide you and set you up for happiness and success.