Love: four letters, so many meanings.
In this blog post, I want to share with you what I’ve learned in the last 30+ years about love. We all experience relationships in a different way, and these lessons are not here to teach you how to love; they are my way of connecting with you on a deeper level, and, hopefully, inspire you to share your stories as well.
Here are my eight lessons about love:
1. There’s a Good Chance Your First Love Won’t Be Your Last
Ouch, it took me a while to wrap my head around this one. I’ve always been a sucker for romantic movies, but life is not a Nicolas Spark’s novel, and more often than not, our first loves are meant to stay precisely where they began: in our teenage years.
I know some high school sweethearts that managed to keep the spark alive throughout the years, but for the most part, your first love is not likely to stay with you for the rest of your life. And that’s okay.
2. You Can’t Get Even by Hurting Someone Back
If you’ve experienced a lot of pain in your past, it’s normal to build an emotional wall to protect yourself. Every time someone hurts you, you fight back and promise yourself never to open up again. The wall keeps growing bigger and bigger. Until you completely shut your feelings off.
I’ve been in a few serious relationships that always ended up badly because I wanted to protect myself from getting hurt. I loved them all, but my fierce defense mechanisms kept me from being honest about my feelings.
Until I met my husband. Trust me, I’ve tried to push him away more than once in the beginning — but he didn’t leave! He was there for me when things got rough, he kept on loving me despite my inability to love myself, and ultimately – we broke down that wall together, and it’s never going back up.
3. Make the First Move, Even If It Kills You
We’ve all heard stories about people who remained in the friend zone forever. If you don’t take a chance on love, you may miss out on the opportunity to find your soulmate. It’s not easy to build up the courage to express your feelings, but it’s always worth it.
Yes, it can be tough to tell the person you love what they mean to you, but if you don’t give it a try, you will spend the rest of your life wondering what could have happened.
Go after the person that you want, unless you're a stalker. Then, please don't. Click To Tweet
4. Your Partner Will Never Be Able to Read Your Mind
When I was younger, I remember being angry at my partners for not doing what I expected them to do. I made snarky comments, I sighed… I was the drama queen of the century, for sure. I did it all because I had this belief in my head that ‘If he really loves me, he’ll know what to do.’
Well, guess what? People can’t read your mind. If you want to build a deeper connection with your partner, be honest about your needs and wants, always speak your mind, share your beliefs and opinions, and express your feelings openly.
5. Great Relationships Require Work, Lots of It
I’ve had three long-term relationships before I met my husband and all of them seemed like a lot of work. What I couldn’t grasp at the time was the fact that people change and evolve, and you can’t expect a relationship to stay the same throughout the years.
Every relationship begins with the honeymoon phase: you’re in love and willing to go the extra mile to make it work. In time, reality kicks in, and you start fighting over little things like who forgot to buy the milk or who will do the dishes. That’s normal, but that’s not all there is.
Relationships require work, they don’t flourish on their own. You have to take care of yourself and your partner, and spend some time nourishing your relationship. A surprise here and there, a thoughtful gift, a compliment, a vacation, a spontaneous walk by the beach… Remember: a small gesture can go a long way.
6. Don’t Force Your Partner to Change/Don’t Let Them Change You
When you’re in love, everything about your partner seems so magical: the way they walk, the way they talk, the way their hair shines in the sunlight… One day, you wake up, and you can’t stand all these little things you used to love! You want them to act differently, you have all these massive expectations, and you want them to react in a certain way that fits your dream scenario.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting your partner to become a better version of themselves, nagging is the worst thing you could do. They don’t have to change who they are just to please you, and you don’t have to walk on eggshells to keep the peace between the two of you either.
What’s key here is to understand that people can only change IF they want to. Let me give you an example: my husband and I used to smoke back in the day. Then, I quit, and I wanted him to quit, too. He wouldn’t do it for months, and then, one day, he just woke up and got rid of all his cigarettes.
We all hate being told what to do. If you want to help the person that you love, tell them your opinion and give them the space to make their own decision. After all, it’s their life, not yours.
7. You Can Be Right, or You Can Be Happy
When you’re in the middle of a fight with someone you love, it can be difficult to handle the situation because you want to ‘win’ the argument. I was a teen back then when I first heard the saying: ‘You can be right or you can be happy’, but it took me a while to understand it fully.
I was raised to believe that there were two truths: 1. I am right 2. You are wrong 🙂
However, life taught me that there are many shades of grey between the colors black and white. We all have different opinions, but sometimes the outcome is more important than being right.
Your pride matters, but sometimes it’s better to let go and choose to be happy instead. Of course, if you have different opinions about things that are a deal-breaker to you, such as religion, whether or not to have kids, and so on, you may need to rethink your values and choose a different outcome.
In short: you can choose to be right, or you can choose to be happy. Sometimes you can be both, but it’s a rare occasion. Even if you win the argument, you will most likely hurt the person you love, and that’s not the best outcome either. So, choose wisely.
8. Love Is the Only Thing Stronger Than Fear
Sounds like a cliche, but it’s the biggest and most important lesson I’ve learned from my love life. Here’s why: every time you run for the hills in the middle of an argument with your partner or the contrary: fear being on your own while they’re processing things, you’re afraid to (or don’t know how to) communicate your feelings.
Two types of fears of intimacy create the push-pull dynamic:
* Fear of engulfment (feeling controlled and dominated by your partner, along with losing oneself in the relationship)
* Fear of abandonment (being rejected or abandoned by your partner, along with feeling unlovable).
When you’re experiencing one of these fears, you put all the pressure on the other person, and you’re missing the most crucial piece of the puzzle: you.
If you take a closer look at yourself, you’ll find that these feelings come from experiencing a traumatic event in the past that made you fear intimacy with others. The good news is, that’s not who you are anymore, and you can choose to react differently.
Love is the ultimate cure for any fear. It begins with self-love: loving your scars, honoring your painful feelings, and accepting your past, and only after then, developing empathy and love for your partner’s experiences.
That’s why I created The Self-Love Toolkit: my proven step-by-step framework that will help you learn how to love yourself unconditionally in less than 15 minutes per day.
It has all the tools you need to transform the relationship with yourself, which as a result, will help you create an even stronger bond with your partner.
Learn How to Love Yourself, Unconditionally
(in less than 15 minutes per day!)
The truth is that we can’t pour from an empty cup. If you want to love someone and let yourself be loved, you need to know how to love yourself first.
Then and only then you’ll be able to love them for who they really are and be unapologetically yourself.
If you’re here and you’re reading this, I want to personally thank you for taking the time to read my story. It means a lot.