Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Lessons on Love (Because I'm still learning...)

In a previous post, I wrote about having gone through divorce, and touched on my recent venture out into the world of dating.  Although things haven't gone the way I hoped with that particular person, the experience served as empirical research as I seek to understand and empathize with the students I work with, the majority of whom are struggling in romantic relationships.  A break in any relationship is painful, but it also provides an opportunity for reflection and growth.

I took some time to think about my experiences, and over the past few weeks have found that these reflections have been helpful to more than a few young women, and I decided to post them here.  So, here are more lessons.  Although they are directed towards women in relationships with men, I believe these are useful in all kinds of relationships.

  • You can fall in love many times.  You'll always love those you fell in love with.  But the one whom you show your appreciation to and who shows you he appreciates you is the one that lasts. You can live without someone you fell in love with.  The one who shows you he doesn't want to live without you is the one that matters.
  • Falling in love is a feeling. Living in love requires action.  It is a demonstration of how you feel. If you don't demonstrate that you love the person you claim to love, then to that person, there is no love. People don't see feelings unless there's an action that demonstrates the feeling.  
  • If you, as the lover, cannot demonstrate how you feel, then you might want to reflect upon whether or not you love yourself.  People who love themselves want to pour that love out onto others.  If you're bankrupt in the love department, you believe you have nothing to give.  
  • Loving yourself is not selfish; it's actually selfish not to love yourself, because you don't want to share yourself with others when you have no love of self.  
  • People who are always worried about getting hurt lack love for themselves.  They don't believe that someone else will want the best for them.  They don't believe they are worthy of being treated well.
  • Don't get stuck on one person, especially if he's not showing you that he loves you. But be careful that you're not looking for one specific demonstration of love. There are many ways to show love.  It's when there's no action behind the words "I love you" that you need to move on. 
  • Believe that you can, and will, fall in love again.  There's not one "soulmate" for everyone.  The person who wants to work through the hard work of love with you is your mate.  Walking in love together is what binds you to the person, not some cosmic force.  
  • Take the good you've learned from every relationship, and throw out the bad. Don't harbor any bad feelings for someone.  Hurt people hurt people. If someone hurts you, try to see what's behind the hurt. There are, most likely, issues of rejection in that person's life.  Don't let that person's issues attach themselves to you.  But don't try to fix his issues either.    Trying to fix someone is selfish. It's manipulative.  You want to change or fix someone because you want him to do what you want, or be how you want him to be.  He has to want to change for his own sake. Let that person go through his journey on his own.  Who knows?  His journey may lead him back to you.
  • Be grateful for every opportunity you've had to demonstrate your love. It makes you better at loving yourself and others.
Who knows when these reflections will end?  I'm still learning.

- Trish

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