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17 Lessons Love Has Taught Us

17 Lessons Love Has Taught Us

Love. It makes the world go ‘round, right? Well, at least that’s the how the saying goes. But is it true? It should be, but so many people confuse love with things like jealousy or possessiveness. True love isn’t either of those things. But these 17 things are. So here are the lessons that real love teaches us:

1. Love means letting go of expectations.

Sure, we all want people to behave the way we want them to. We want them to be more affectionate. Or more outgoing. Or smarter. Or more ambitious. All of these things are expectations. Expectations are just your requirements for “acceptability” of loving someone. But true love has no expectations. It simply loves “as is.”

2. Love doesn’t play the victim role or blame others.

Love doesn’t think others are “out to get them.” Love doesn’t think their loved ones are wrong. Love works together. It takes responsibility. It forgives and allows other people’s actions to be their journey. Love doesn’t take things personally.

3. Love includes letting go.

Love doesn’t equal possession. Just as the saying goes, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, then it never was.” There is truth to that. Love allows people their freedom. It doesn’t hold tightly and crush their wings in attempt to keep them. True love doesn’t want to possess. It is willing to set you free if you want to be.

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4. Love doesn’t require you to continue a relationship.

You may love someone very much. But you may not be compatible with them. Or they may drive you crazy with their continued disregard for your feelings. You can still love them, but that doesn’t mean you have to be with them. Love doesn’t mean that you have to stay, and stay, and stay.  You can leave the relationship and love them anyway.

5. Love has no room for jealousy.

Like possession, jealousy doesn’t equal love. We think that if we’re not jealous of our loved ones that it means that we don’t love them. True love has confidence in the quality of the relationship. It knows that the other person is happy and content coming back to you, and only you.

6. Love is the absence of fear.

You can put all emotions on a continuum. On one end, you have love. Then appreciation. After that, it’s joy, happiness, contentment, and satisfaction. On the opposite end of the continuum of love is fear. Other fear-based emotions include, hatred, insecurity, jealousy, or greed.

7. Love is not needing and wanting.

One of the things we try to teach kids is that there is a clear difference between a want and a need. Needing someone is a feeling based in fear. You fear that you can’t live without them, so you need them. And remember, fear is the opposite of love. Wanting someone in your life gives them the freedom to leave, but still shows them you love them.

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8. Love is an action, not just a feeling.

Humans tend to be addicted to intense emotion – especially when it feels good. So when we’re in love, we want to feel that way forever. But guess what? That higher than “Cloud 9” feeling goes away after a while. That doesn’t mean you don’t love the other person anymore, it just means that it’s not new anymore. So that’s where the action needs to kick in. Show the person you love them. Don’t just assume they know.

9. Love is unconditional.

The word ‘unconditional’ means that there are no expectations or limitations set. To love unconditionally is a difficult thing, and most humans aren’t good at that. But true love really does love without trying to change the other person.

10. Love means putting other people’s needs equal to – or before – your own.

While people may be inherently selfish for survival purposes, this does not serve us well in relationships. If you don’t put other people’s needs at least equal to your own, they will grow resentful. Real love truly, genuinely cares about other people’s happiness and will go to great lengths to make people feel valued.

11. Love is the highest vibration emotion that there is.

Science has proven that emotions like love and fear have very different vibrations. They can actually measure them. Love vibrates very fast, whereas fear-based emotions (think jealousy, possessiveness, hatred, greed, etc.) vibrate very slowly. When you love completely and unconditionally, there is no fear involved. The vibrations of love make you feel good at all times.

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12. Love is focusing on quality, not quantity.

Love focuses on the quality of your relationship, not its longevity. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?” Just because your relationship lasts a long time doesn’t mean that you have true love. Real love can be very brief. Therefore, quality and quantity of love are not the same things.

13. Love requires attention.

Love doesn’t ignore. It doesn’t look the other way. It wants to be present and be together. When people are in love, sometimes they think that they don’t have to “do any more work.” But real love actually enjoys giving attention to another person. It feels good, and doesn’t see giving attention to another person as a chore.

14. Love understands and accepts differences.

Let’s face it. We’re all different. Even identical twins aren’t exactly the same. They have different experiences and outlooks about the world. Real love doesn’t make other people wrong for being different. When people truly love another person, they accept their differences.

15. Love varies in how it is expressed and accepted.

What makes us “feel loved” varies. In the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, he explains the different ways people give and receive love: (1) Words (2) Acts of Service, (3) Giving Gifts, (4) Spending Time Together, and (5) Touch. It’s important to discover other people’s love language so you can understand each other and give love in a way that the other person recognizes it.

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16. Love makes you feel good, not bad.

Many people confuse being in a relationship with love. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean there is true love present. If there is jealousy, possessiveness, constant fighting, abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical), that is not love. Refer back to #6. Those are fear-based emotions and actions.

17. Love has empathy.

Empathy is the ability to put yourself into another person’s shoes and see a situation from his/her point of view. Love has deep empathy. “When you hurt, I hurt.” People who truly love one another don’t want to hurt them. They want them to feel good. They care about their feelings and try everything they can to make them feel valued and worthy.

Remember, love is happiness, appreciation, and feeling good. Anything other than that is not love. If we all loved one another as ourselves, the world would be a better place!

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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