Self-Worth Is More Than Enough

In elementary school, little boys slid letters to girls they liked, asking:

“Do you like me? Circle yes or no.”

Being liked by a boy was the first exposure to male approval. As little girls grew older, that male validation would make them jealous, gossip, or even fight others. The girls are now women. Women who should have discovered value within self. Women who no longer need to participate in child’s play to receive a man’s approval.

Two weeks ago, 31-year-old Likia Armstrong was killed, allegedly by another woman who she’d been feuding with supposedly over a man. The news bothered me enough to search for her Facebook profile and from her public posts, I concluded an impression that she may have drawn envy over the man she was dating. She had been shot multiple times, including in the head.

Managing multiple romantic relationships appears to be normal now, but people seem to not realize such situations can become dangerous in more ways than one. Although there are women who would immediately oppose such extreme behavior just over a man, there are still women who value their relationship that much, who equate their worth to having one and will resort to violence over it.

When incidents like these occur, there’s also the discussion surrounding the correlation between seeking male validation and absent or neglectful fathers — that women will search, and compete, for the attention that should have been given to them during their upbringing. The father complex connection isn’t always reality, as a woman’s response to men she’s romantically attracted to is influenced by various social factors during her maturity.

What’s not typically discussed is how many of those charming little boys from elementary school were eventually told no, a lot — rejected not just through the opposite sex, but life. Many became damaged young men, needing validation themselves. Possessing nothing but fragile egos that they would do anything to coddle, even if it’s at the expense of the women they date.

I dated a guy who tried to lead our relationship by his ego rather than wisdom. He had the perception that because my father was absent I never experienced a healthy or stable relationship with a man, or that I would be “doormat”. He assumed having a decent-paying job would balance out his immaturity and emotional instability. Sometimes he would be so impulsive, perhaps to protect his ego — he’d have temper tantrums, make misogynistic remarks, or immediately vent to social media as a way of communicating. At times he would bring up the idea of other women to fish if I was possessive or to make me jealous.

Eventually, I realized the behavior was projection. He was the one inexperienced in a healthy and stable relationship, bouncing from person to person, and to cope with the rejection and save face for the failures he would label himself a womanizer. He was the one who, although raised by his, shared the resentful narratives of daddy issues, and exhibited a desire to fit in with male peers. He was the one who had low self-esteem, desperate to find a woman with even less to manipulate in order to boost his. And if I had been naive and looking for this guy to validate me, I would have believed I was supposed to be led in this manner.

There lies major internalized misogyny in seeking male validation, and it keeps women competitive and protective over what they may need protecting from. Women refuse to discern that sometimes another woman isn’t the opponent. Even if Likia Armstrong and the other woman ignited their tension on their own, they were acquainted somehow through someone, and that someone is nowhere to be found. Women have to know when to step out of the competition, as it may save their lives, the lives deserving of men who won’t invite them to drama.

Hopefully, young ladies learn to circle yes for themselves and do away with this false idea that setting boundaries in relationships and putting their needs first is an agenda that will hurt men who in return won’t love them. This agenda to prove their worth to unworthy men seems to be hurting women more.

Self-Worth Is More Than Enough

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