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4 Things I’ve learnt about LOVE for next time around

 ‘Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage’

Lao Tzu

 

The last time I felt a deep love for someone was what feels like, a long time ago now.

Even though it’s been a while, I can still remember ‘that’ feeling of wonder, the breathlessness and simple beauty as you slowly fall.  It’s that something that I’ve come to appreciate since being single.  I know there is nothing quite like loving someone and when it’s the right person it can be both exhilarating and at times painful, but nevertheless all encompassing.

Love is amazing.  It’s a gift, even if we don’t like to admit it, and we all desire in one way or another.  As humans there is a deep need to be loved, to love and share our lives with someone as we each navigate our way through life.

As I contemplate love, I do so from a single person’s perspective. Not in a bitter and twisted kind of way, but more from an appreciative and reflective stance.  As I travel through my life, I see people around me profess their love for each other in many ways. I see conditioning, jealously, envy, expectancy, admiration, trust, denial, joy, wonderment and above all I see people treating love as something perfect.

It’s from my observations of those around me, my own past experience and the lessons I have learnt, that I have gathered up my thoughts on love and feel the need to share them with you today (hope you don’t mind)!

These are not hard and fast rules; they are my words on love, so please take them as you find them:

For love to be, love has to start within

As I’ve come to learn, mostly the hard way, love cannot be given if love for oneself is not already within (the giver) so they can then give it away.  The love of ourselves is so important, because what we give away must come from a sense of wholeness to begin with.  You can’t give away what you do not already possess, and with love this has to be, before anything else can happen.

However, if you enter a relationship hoping to gain love instead of give, or you look to another person to ‘fill you up’ with love because you believe you lack it. Then it goes against the whole reason love is here, for love is to give and never is it to get.  What I know, is that a deep love of oneself is required fully prior to any form of love with someone else.  Over and over again, I’ve bypassed this and, even though I thought I was giving, all I did was take. I expected someone to love me, yet I did not love myself so in turn they could only really love the person I was offering them. Which lead me to be someone who would take any kind of love, in return for a love I did not think I deserved.

Each relationship never lasted.  Each relationship ended the same way and it wasn’t until I realised that my need for love was so bad, because I didn’t possess it inside, in the end my only way to determine my own love was to no longer seek love from external sources.  For the only one true love is the love of myself and until that is here, love would never happen.

Be who you are and show yourself

Love is about openness, honesty and trust.  It’s about being prepared to be seen fully as you are, even with your perceived flaws and countless imagined imperfections.

Vulnerability is being able to love wholeheartedly, with no disguises or masks.  It is the readiness to open your heart and doing so with no guarantees of the outcome.  To be brave and courageous enough to let go of the need to control and let someone love you as you are.

So many people hide their true selves – I included.  I never wanted to appear weak, always looking to impress others and be the way they wanted me to be.  I would mould and shape myself to what they needed, even if they didn’t realise it. I’d be forever people pleasing, never standing my ground or asking for what I wanted or needed.  I’d simply ‘act’ the part of an ideal girlfriend, yet inside the real I was screaming to be set free.

I didn’t feel worthy of love, so I craved it from others until all I had was a desperate, miserable and fake mess!  My heart slowly dissolved and I ended up resenting the other person because I’d played a part they didn’t even know existed.  I was the dishonest one because the real I was never seen, not even to myself.  To love is to be vulnerable, to open up in place you never knew existed and with that comes growth.

Less expectancy, more gratefulness

In past relationships I’ve probably given more than I received, yet through my own lack of self-love I believe that most of the problem was down to my own lack of self-love.  What I also noticed was that my expectancy of the other person and the relationship was at an all-time high. I expected the other person to make me happy, to do what I wanted, to love me no matter what, to make me number one and I expected them to change when in reality I needed to do the changing.

Such was my ungratefulness within the relationship, it was no wonder each relationship started to fall apart. If you are trying your best at something and the other person still isn’t happy, most men (and women) would pack up their bags and walk away. Failing that, they’d stay in the relationship putting little effort in, when you have no appreciation or you live with someone who is ungrateful for all that you DO do, then the spark tends to disappear.

Being grateful for all the little things that the other person brings into the relationship is so very important. Saying thank you and giving compliments go a long way to show the other person that you love and care for them.  When we expect too much, especially expecting things from someone when we should be able to do those things for ourselves, the other person can feel like ‘lunch’ with all the neediness and expectations put upon them. Plus it’s a sure fire way to make someone feel inadequate, if you are expecting them to do things that they are sure to fail at,  like ‘make you happy’ all the time!

You are the master of your own ship, when you love someone you take responsibility for your own happiness.  If you aren’t happy you say how you feel, and if you find that you still aren’t happy then you chose whether you stay or not.

Say sorry, even when it’s not your fault

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt is that being right is never as important as showing someone that you care enough about them to apologise first.  When in a relationship there are times when you disagree with your partner, opinions are tossed about and in some cases doors are slammed and harsh things are said.  In the spur of the moment things happen, yet the thing to remember is that being conscious in an argument is so very important.

It’s always a good thing to ask yourself ‘is this important’ or ‘do I need to say this right now’.  As with any relationship it is important to be honest, but it’s also just as important to be mindful of what is said and how.  When emotions run high, things can be said which can be taken out of context or made to hurt.  It’s worth remembering that as adults, it means you are mature enough to admit defeat or even if you are right, it just doesn’t matter.  What does matter is the love you share, and if an argument happens you have to be the one to apologise. Not because you are wrong but because you are adult enough to stand up for the relationship.

Hurting someone is never a good idea, no matter what the reason.  Even if it appears just, it isn’t, because hurting someone else out of spite will get you nowhere and the walls of trust will slowly come down.  Take it from me, say sorry, it not only means you respect the other person but you respect yourself enough to know that being right isn’t the most important thing.

Today

As I continue my journey as a single girl (for now), I am so grateful for all the past relationships I’ve had.  I have had time to reflect on the lessons I’ve needed to learn, most from the wrong people but they were right in the fact that they taught me what I did not want in a relationship.

I know that when I do love again, I’ll do it differently. First and foremost I will come whole, I’ll know who I am and I will love myself.

Now that’s worthy of anyone’s love, don’t you think?

How about you?  Did these help?  What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. I’d love for you to sign up for daily growth spurts, all you need to do is head on over to the sign up form at the top right of this page! Easy!

Lots of Love

 

Paula x

 

Picture from Flickr - Sandra King

6 Comments

  • Vivian Navarro

    Reply Reply June 24, 2014

    You’ve become sort of my therapist. Wish I’d have the courage, humility to see who I really was when I was younger. Maybe if I’d prayed more at that time, things would have been different. Did not have the help that one can get today if you find the right blogs (like yours). Thank you.

    • Paula

      Reply Reply June 25, 2014

      Really? Seriously, you are never alone in that thought. Lets face it when we were all younger we might have done a lot of things differently, because we are wiser now. However, the past is the past for a reason. We can move forward with what we know now and make the very best of it. I thank you Vivian for being prepared to look at things in a new way, as you do. It takes courage and for that I applaud you. Much love x

  • Bernadette

    Reply Reply June 29, 2014

    Enjoyed this article, Paula. Great points! Found you in the Self Help Blog Group, btw. Glad I hopped over! Guess a lot of us are thinking about love and what that looks like these days. One thing I have learned is to make amends … as in ‘a mend’ … a correction in course when sorry is not enough or being said too frequently. It engages me with my classroom and fellow students on another level so I don’t get caught in the ‘re-runs.’ Thanks for taking the time to share your heart wisdom!
    Bernadette recently posted…Heart Bypass: Living and Loving on the HighwayMy Profile

    • Paula

      Reply Reply June 30, 2014

      Hi Bernadette, yes so glad you did and I saw your post – they kind of relate don’t they? Oh yes of course. Mending is so important as saying sorry is sometimes not enough, sometimes saying sorry with an intention to change something or do something different… Great point definitely needed :) thank you

  • Jenna ledward

    Reply Reply July 8, 2014

    I’m glad I’ve come across you today.

    I am in the exact place you were with having my own business and feeling like my job would define me to successful…. I have been but it’s not making me happy or fulfilled! Lack of love and identifying this is powerful and a great place to work from too…

    My journey has just begun to find where I am ment to be… I will keep following you for inspiration…

    Pressing send is not easy as I feel exposed! :/
    Thank you x

    • Paula

      Reply Reply July 8, 2014

      Hey Jenna, wow this is a big step for you and I am so glad you did it anyway. This is what growth is all about, learning from life and doing something with that. I am so glad you find my blog too. I’d love to hear more from you and how you are doing Jenna :)

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