Love, a feeling that can make your heart smile one minute then be completely torn to pieces the next. It’s a feeling that can bring clarity then suddenly make you question everything. It’s a feeling we can’t live without; it’s an innate sense of our being. It’s a feeling we’re constantly searching or fighting for.
This past year, being alone has allowed me to reflect on the meaning of love, including both the beautiful and dark aspects. In fact, it’s one of the main topics of conversation among my girlfriends and me. I’ve had my fair share of healthy relationships as well as not so healthy ones, bad dates, head over heel moments, a love that broke my innocence, and a love that was a serious game changer.
Through each and every experience, whether painful or beautiful, I have either learned to love or learned from love. It shouldn’t be confusing, although it often is. As a living reminder and guide, I have found a few truths on love and relationships that I use as a compass.
Here are my 10 love truths to live by.
1. Be Patient
We spend so much energy searching for the right one that we often lose sight of what it is we need. We let lust lead us, and, in return, we get hurt over and over again. It’s always been said that love comes when you least expect it, which is absolutely true. So just relax, your true love is just riding on a turtle somewhere, slowly making their way.
2. Never Settle
I have seen so many friends stay in relationships with people who were insanely wrong for them because they didn’t want to be alone. No, just no. There is simply no time for a mediocre life, even less for a relationship that forces you to lower your standards. You deserve to be with a person who enhances your life and doesn’t take you for granted.
3. Don’t Lose Your Identity
After being in a relationship for a while, it’s easy to get lost. Subconsciously, your identity seems to disappear and you begin to compromise parts of yourself: happiness, goals, hobbies, or friendships. I am guilty of this. I have put a dream on hold for a partner. I have let someone confuse my own judgment with their insecure words. Keeping your individuality is the healthiest thing you can do for a relationship.
4. Good Vibes Only
Any relationship in your life should be positive, end of story. I’ve had people in my life who are narcissistic and complete energy suckers. They would pop up when they needed validation and love and then disappear when they got their fill. This is toxic to the heart. A relationship should be a perfect balance of give and take.
5. Love Yourself
It is almost impossible to cultivate a healthy relationship if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself. I’m a firm believer in the theory that like attracts like. If you struggle with self-worth then others will have a difficult time finding value in you. This quote says it all, “Love yourself enough to set boundaries….You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” —Anna Taylor
6. Learn From The Past
When relationships end, it is a good time to evaluate what worked, what failed, and what you would like in a future partner. We learn so we don’t continue making the same mistakes. I have a tendency to attract emotionally immature individuals who are afraid of commitment and in return break my trust. I have noticed a pattern and am learning from my past. However, I also can’t let this weigh me down and affect my future relationships. So with that, we must learn and then let go.
7. Speak Up
Communication is key in any relationship. Never be afraid to speak your truth, even if it terrifies you. If you want to tell someone you love them first, do it! If you want to tell someone this just isn’t working, say it. It is better to put it out there than suffocate your feelings.
8. Quality Over Quantity
When you choose someone to be in your life, choose wisely. I rather have a handful of solid friendships then a bunch of toxic, fair-weather friends. The same goes for a relationship. This is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn. Who is worth having around? The ones that reach out, who are around during the difficult times, the ones that love you for nothing. Nourish those relationships.
9. Being Alone Is Okay
Not being in a relationship is not tragic or pathetic. It is the perfect opportunity to get to know yourself and what you would like in a partner. I also don’t need to feel love from a partner to feel complete. I feel love from my friends, family, and from within.
10. Love With All Of Your Heart
Don’t hold back. To be open and vulnerable is one of the most courageous things you can do.
What lessons has love taught you along the way?
Also by Jess: Inspired Living: 7 Steps to a New Year of Self-Discovery
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Photo: Christopher Sardegna via Unsplash