We accept the love we think we deserve. - Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

A Guest Column By Manvi Singh

Every time I get to this phrase from the coming-of-age visual treat that "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is, it just haunts me for hours at a stretch. It makes me think about the various interpretations that this one line can hold and feed on, and yet, every time around, I think of something completely different from the one I had had before.

Once, I used to believe that it's all about who we consciously empower to hurt us in our lifetime. We often believe that it (hurting us) is something they can rightfully do, and that we can never object to it. So we choose to embrace it instead.

We have always given those whom we love, the power to hurt us the most.

Photo by Francisco Gonzalez / Unsplash

I used to believe, that if these 'special people' had simply walked away from us, at some point of time in life, then it would have totally been our fault. It just had to be that way. Later, I realised that wasn't the case at all. It had a lot more to do with how we perceived events.

It is virtually impossible for someone else to make us feel inferior, not unless we subconsciously consent to it. No one can have power over you unless you explicitly hand it over to them. It is always on us to exercise complete control over our choices, and it is absolutely onto us, to make it count.

The law of attraction/opposites?

Photo by Karen Zhao / Unsplash

The next time I saw the movie, I thought it was about acceptance - about how we choose to accept things or people that are similar to us in ways that only we can fathom. The thing is, we almost always accept something that gives us a sense of 'similar' appeal. These include common interests, mutual likes and dislikes, etc... but eventually, people do fall apart.

Why do people fall apart?

Photo by Kat J / Unsplash

People soon begin to realise that mutually exclusive relationships are not just about common interests. They are equally dependent on how we continue to compromise in order to fulfil the interests of that significant other. They are about how equipped we are, to continue to hold on to things that we may have never liked, let alone enjoyed - yet we continue to be in that place because it's something we thought we'd be able to do.

The cycle continues, for better or worse - and can lead to decay if not handled in time. My realisation, that similarity isn't a key to that elusive sense of 'forever', stemmed from the many times that I've seen this movie. And I've never grown tired.

Back to you, Charlie.

I have literally never grown tired of deciphering the meaning behind this one phrase, and in my latest iteration, I saw quite clearly what it meant - the depth of every word in this one phrase, and I couldn't help but smile.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

They key was to read into every single emotion when Charlie says this one line out loud, and I realised how we sometimes let ourselves feel worthless enough to let just... anyone be a part of this journey that we call love.

It's how we tag abusive love as love even though reality is probably miles apart. We attract the kind of people who we feel are equipped to treat us the way we think we deserve be treated, even though it's just about a little fraction of importance that we hold in their life.

But we hold on to the idea of love. For life. Because that's the right thing to do.

A barefooted man and woman cuddle on a beanbag chair against wood paneling, near a guitar
Photo by Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Sure, the movie speaks volumes about how we look at ourselves, the idea of our own self-worth and the fact that we defines the boundaries of how we need to be treated. But more than anything else, that line tells me that it's not okay to underestimate myself. It is never okay to underestimate how much you are equipped to love, how much love is out there in the world, waiting to be found. Because someone, somewhere, will find you and give you everything you thought you ever deserved, maybe more. Someone, will make you feel infinite the way the trio felt on their last ride out during the closing sequence.

It could happen any minute now. Watch out.

Note: Manvi Singh is a Guest Columnist on The Times Blog, who was selected to participate in the beta rollout of our contribution program. If you feel you can contribute towards your own opinion column, please write to the editors at thetimesblog.editorial@gmail.com and one of us will assist you in signing up as an author.