This is a subject with which I have struggled all my life. Last week I wrote about learning to love ourselves in order to love another person properly. Today I want to talk about how my experience with love has been and how I’ve learned to see and understand love. Hopefully, my growth and perception can give you light and hope in this subject.
I have fallen in love many times, or at least that’s what I thought. Understanding that I actually was not in love with the people I thought I was, was crucial for me in this matter and in my growing process with regards to love and self-love. When you meet someone, everything is perfect. We want to present to others a version of ourselves that might not be real. We usually want to portray ourselves like the “perfect candidate” in order to conquer the other person’s heart; and they do the same. That’s when the problem starts. We pretend to be someone we are not and that is not sustainable. Perhaps we do it unconsciously, we do it out fear of rejection, we do it because we are in search of companionship, we do it because we need to feel loved. Perhaps what has happened to me, that I realized I was in love with a false image of a person, also happened to other people with regards to me…because they thought I was the “perfect person” and then realized that I was not. Why do we do that?
The real answer behind it is that FEAR makes us take that route. We fear loneliness, we fear that we won’t fit in, we fear that we might not be “good enough”, we fear that our reality won’t be a good fit to the person we are interested in, and that this reality will scare him/her away. Yes! We fear! But love cannot be built out of fear. Love cannot be forced. Love cannot be based on lies or be built by pretending to be “perfect” (because nobody is perfect). When you pretend to be someone you are not, you will end up hurting and you will hurt yourself as well. If you want someone to truly love you, for who you really are, just BE YOURSELF! Don’t pretend to be perfect. Don’t intend to be always happy or positive or funny. Just be yourself. Show your reality. Show your flaws. The correct person will stay in your life regardless of any of that.
I have done so many things “out of love” that I now regret! Things that I should’ve never done because love shouldn’t force you to things you are not comfortable with. So, if you ever feel pressured to do something you don’t want or that clashes with your values, then you should think again and evaluate the situation; evaluate the relationship and make yourself a priority over the request. When you love yourself, you will be able to identify and establish your boundaries and the other person, if he/she truly loves you, will respect those boundaries. That is the key to knowing that you are loved properly.
When you truly love someone, you can be your true self around that person and the other person will love that about you. I believe that love has no secrets and no judgements of the past. That you can be completely truthful with the person you love and in return be accepted even though you’ve made a whole bunch of mistakes in your life. But guess what? There is no one person in the world who has no mistakes under their sleeves. So don’t be so judgmental of your own self and allow others to love you for who you truly are.
Now this is the complicated part…what if you love someone and the other person is not ready even though he/she loves you? We have grown to believe that if someone truly loves you, then he/she should do ANYTHING to be with you…but that is not always the case. We all have lives and responsibilities and even traumas. We might have people that depend on us that we cannot turn our backs on to go after that loved one. Also, like I said before, we need to heal to be ready to give our best version of ourselves. Nobody can heal us; it is an internal job. Perhaps the other person needs healing and then you are there pushing and rushing, and as a result you push him/her and rush him/her out of your life! Loving another is a matter of understanding, it is a matter of respect, it is a matter of patience. Why rush things? Why push someone to be with you when they are not ready? Why judge? Well, because of that idea that “if he loves you, he’ll do anything for you”. That is NOT TRUE! Love is not forced, it flows. Love is magical precisely because you feel it regardless of the situation, of the distance, of the complications. But you cannot force the other person to be ready. Like the saying goes: “If you love somebody, set them free. If they come back, they are yours, if they don't, they never were". Many have argued that if someone loves you, they’ll never leave. I don’t think that is true. Sometimes we carry things within us that makes us doubt or we fear that will damage the person we love, and the best thing is to stay away for a while. Love will remain. True love never dies.
Love requires time and patience. Love requires understanding that the other person is not perfect. Understanding that the other person WILL make mistakes and might even hurt you either unintentionally, or out of fear, or due to insecurities, or out of frustration. That doesn’t mean the person is toxic or that the person doesn’t love you…it means the person is human! Therefore, this is the reason why communication and understanding are so critical and important in relationships, because we sometimes assume things and we are not even close to understanding what the reality from the other person’s perspective is. We sometimes judge others without trying to understand their view in things.
Always remember that to be able to love freely you need to heal yourself and that also applies to the person you love. Let love flow. If it’s meant to be, love will find its way to you. There’s no rushing, there’s no judgement, and there shouldn’t be any fears. There’s no possession or control. If any of that is present, then the relationship will become toxic because it will turn into a control war, and love is not about that. Love is the ability to be free without the fear of being betrayed. If you are ever betrayed, it is because the other person didn’t truly love you or because the other person is not at your same level. You cannot posses someone, neither control them. You can just love. So, let love be.