Learning to Love

“Love is knowing you’re leaving yourself vulnerable in hopes that it will all be worth it even though the odds say it won’t be. Love is sacrificing for somebody without expecting them to do the same in return. Love is finding somebody who makes you feel safe and comfortable, somebody who you can sit in silence with and still feel comfortable. Love is desperate, love is a little ridiculous. Love is scary. Love is unfortunate. Love is exhilarating. Love is risky and dangerous. Love is throwing all caution to the wind. Love is sure. Love is something that can’t be said it has to be felt. Love is the energy you feel the millisecond before you kiss. It’s the intangible but definitely tangible static when you touch. Love makes no sense and makes perfect sense at the same time. Love can ruin lives and can resurrect lives. Love is bold. Love is patient. Love is honest and love is  unconditional.” –Age 20

As the individual above describes what love means to them, I ask you to ponder, what does love mean to you. The individual above is giving love a great deal of power…what if I simplified the definition of love to a few small words; love is choosing to look for the good in someone, even when it is hard to see. Hollywood has given us a misconstrued perception of what love is. We see love in the movies portrayed in a variety of different ways: endless romantic gestures, tumultuous, ceaseless happiness, butterflies in the pit of your stomach, kisses in the rain. The fact is love is not a feeling…it is a choice. You will not always feel those butterflies, there will not always be laughter and kissing, there will not always be peace and harmony. Now, this may have you questioning what the heck is all this hype about love then… Yes, love can be difficult, but it can also be beautiful. The thing that so often complicates love is that we expect the other person to fix us, to fulfill us, to make us happy, to make us feel loved, but that is not only an unrealistic expectation, but also not your significant other´s job. That is YOUR job, it is your job to fulfill yourself (I find that through God), it is your job to meet your needs, it is your job to love yourself. Now that all your expectations of a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend have gone flying out the window, you may be left wondering, well then what is their purpose. Their only purpose is to be there for you to love them. Now you may have jumped to the ¨well I can´t love them if they are rude or do not do nice things for me.¨ The fact is that everybody is lovable, nothing takes away from your partner´s love-ability or from yours. Your thoughts decide how lovable your partner is to you. Nothing they do decides their love-ability to you. Thoughts lead to words, words lead to actions. If you are constantly thinking of all the bad things about your significant other and nagging on them all the time, it will be extremely difficult to love them. If you focus on the wonderful things about them, it will be so much easier to love them. If you want a relationship where you feel love all the time, you can have that…all you need to do is manage your mind. It is your choice to love that person, like I said love is a choice, not a feeling. Once we get that fallacy out of our head we are able to open our mind and our hearts to not only receiving love, but giving love. Now, I am not telling you to stay in a toxic relationship where it is constant giving and no receiving. Ultimately at the end of the day, you need to take care of yourself! I encourage you for just one week to focus on the good of your loved one, the changes you see will be significant…there will be no going back after that one week.

An idea: You can also give your special someone ways that would make your feel loved (i.e. love languages) or small acts that you would appreciate them doing; the key is not putting your happiness into that suggestion. It is good to communicate to the other what you want, but it is important to not be disappointed if it is not perfect or the way you thought they would carry out your suggestion.

I mentioned above conveying to your significant other the ways that make you feel loved; I mentioned the word love languages. Many of you probably already know what this is, but if not I am here to break it down for you. There are five love languages: Words of Affirmation (Encouragement), Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. Lets imagine a hypothetical situation. There is a woman named Jane and she is married to John. John buys Jane endless gifts: jewelry, flowers, chocolates. He is trying to show Jane just how much he loves her, but Jane just does not feel loved. What John does not realize is that Jane´s love language is not receiving gifts, it is quality time. It would make Jane feel more loved if John took her out to dinner, and they had deep, meaningful conversation. This is why it is always good to communicate love languages to your special someone, because you may be loving them, but not in a way to where they can feel loved, vice versa.

Start each day naming off what your love about your special someone. When you catch yourself nit-picking or thinking negatively…stop and replace those thoughts with positive ones.  I begin each day with a prayer for my special someone. Then, I continue the day with listening to a podcast in the car…this is my Jam. Maybe it would beneficial for you to listen to peaceful or positive music if podcasts are just not your thing. I am a true believer of what you put into your mind is what you put out into the world, what you put out into the world is what you will receive. All I simply do is open up the podcast app on my phone and listen to the podcasts I have previously downloaded. There are endless options for you to pick from. These are a few of my FAVORITE relationship podcasts…How to Be a Good Mate by The Life Coach SchoolLove 2.0 by The Life Coach School, and Someone to Love by The Life Coach School. I linked them if you would like to listen to them on your laptop, but you can also just search them on the podcast app on the iPhone. I LOVE The Life Coach School podcasts; she talks about everything from burnout, forgiveness, love, feeling purpose, confidence etc. I usually listen to religion related podcasts or uplifting, kind of ¨self-help¨ podcasts. You would be amazed the different outlooks you can receive from listening to someone else talk about something you struggle with. It is always good to start your day off and end it on a positive note!

1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Here are some other resources to focus on loving your special someone and yourself. I think growth is so important, everyday should be an opportunity for growth. There is always room for improvement and sometimes we just need a little extra help and outside tools!