Love Lessons Learned

Keen Category: Love Advice

Red & green apples sitting on the chalk shelf of a schoolroom chalkboard with three cartoon hearts drawn above them on the blackboard

Anyone who has been in and out of relationships goes through a stage of pondering what went wrong and what could have been different. Each relationship offers a chance to learn about how to be with another person. Here are 8 lessons about love to help you get started on your next relationship journey.

Lesson 1: Worrying Attracts More Worry

Worrying attracts more situations that cause concern. Ruminating on negative thoughts and outcomes can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you are obsessing that your boyfriend wants to end the relationship, you will be sending out signals for this to happen. Your lack of security and trust will make him feel less positive towards you. Now the stage is set for your greatest fear to become a reality.

Lesson 2: Never Lose Yourself

Many women become so focused on what their mate is doing, that they lose touch with themselves. They constantly wonder when their boyfriend is going to call, how he feels and what he is doing. This kind of obsession can cause misery, self-disgust and sadness. Women will mistakenly think that their mate is making them feel bad, when it is in fact, they themselves who are causing their anguish.

The situation gets even worse when a woman foregoes her own interests because her man laughs at her, belittles her or scoffs at her and makes her feel bad for doing something she loves.

Lesson 3: Your Partner Has No Malicious Intent

In most cases, your partner is not intentionally trying to cause you pain. People evolve on their own timeframe. Your mate is developmentally at a certain level and behaves accordingly.

Even though a partner may criticize you or dismiss your abilities, it does not mean that he is a malicious person. He is on his own path and doing the best he can with the goods that he has. However, does this mean that he is beneficial to your highest good? No. Understanding where he is at is not an excuse to accept bad behavior or a relationship that inhibits you on your own path.

Lesson 4: Be Clear About Boundaries

You must set boundaries and not allow bad behavior to be accepted in your relationship. You have a right to be treated with respect and love and boundaries should clearly enforce what treatment you expect from your mate.

Boundaries are also necessary to protect your personal energy. Do not play the role of a rescuer; you cannot save another and you cannot act as their parent. Don't let anyone feed off your energy. Respect their space and yours by using your energy for yourself and for your dreams.

By being clear about what type of relationship you want and what is not acceptable, you can then draw the kind of partner you want towards you.

  • Are you willing to wait for your boyfriend to grow up and get a job?
  • Do you accept that your mate is cheating on you?
  • Will you pay for your partner's rent while he or she spends money on lottery tickets?
  • Is it okay that your steady doesn't call you?

The universe provides what you clearly define as necessary for a relationship. By setting limits on unacceptable behavior and defining for yourself what makes a good relationship, you will be open to a partner who can fulfill your heart's desire.

Lesson 5: Respect Their Free Will

You cannot force anyone to love you. If your love interest says that he or she just wants to be friends, then you must honor and accept their limit. No whining, complaining or crying is going to alter another's decision. It will just demonstrate how willing you are to hand over your personal power. Nobody wants to be with a manipulative partner.

Lesson 6: Keep Your Expectations in Check

Setting boundaries is not about having ridiculously high expectations. People in relationships often feel that if their partner loved them enough, he or she would be or do what they want. They think that love should be easy and not take work.

This fairy tale idealism ignores the reality that relationships have the potential to be difficult, hurtful and bring out our own ugly character flaws. Furthermore, the "negative" experiences can teach us to have appropriate expectations and to look at our own role in making a relationship work.

If you are expecting another to act or respond in a particular way, you are wasting your time and energy. Each person needs the room to be their own unique self. It's important to discern unloving from loving behavior; however, no one is going to be perfect and at times your mate may make a mistake or forget to call at a certain time, etc.

You will also not be perfect. There will be times when you neglect to do something or wish you had behaved in a different way.

Lesson 7: Learn What Love Isn't

Love is not:

  • Codependence
  • Abuse (verbal, emotional, physical)
  • A need to control another
  • Loving someone's “potential” instead of who they really are

Wanting to change another person into our ideal mate is not love. If you are with or are pursuing someone who does not have the same feelings or who brings out your worst nature, then you are more likely addicted to the person. Don't confuse this with love.

Love is not always enough to justify holding onto a relationship. It is possible to love someone that doesn't contribute to your personal evolution and highest good. Abuse and controlling behavior are not acceptable even if you do love the offender. Your responsibility as a growing and evolving adult is to make the best choices so that the universe realizes that you are on the path for something better. And something better could mean being alone for a while.

Lesson 8: A Breakup Can Be a Freeing Experience

Breaking up is a wonderful opportunity to figure out just who you are. You can rediscover what you love, stop engaging in unhealthy habits and adopt healthier ones. It is a chance to pursue your interests and to develop your talents.

To help with the process of the breakup, remind yourself that you made a choice and that you have the power. It is okay to acknowledge that you may still love the person and that you do not wish any harm or ill will towards him or her.

It can feel great to realize that who you are has nothing to do with your former partner, his or her potential or the fantasy you may have created for your future. Letting go of the dreams you had about the relationship is tough, but your dreams can now be bigger. You can be the star of your own dreams.

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