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21 Love Milestones Everyone Needs To Achieve In Life

21 Love Milestones Everyone Needs To Achieve In Life

What is love anyway? That agonizing, exhilarating, fought for, died for, stolen for, begged for, dreamed of and hoped for condition, like no other in the world. We all simply must have it, it’s the most magical and craved aspect of the human experience: to love and be loved.

Yet we can’t see love, can’t hear it, or touch it. You sense it in a place inside of you that you can’t explain, an intuitive knowing of the heart. You embark on the journey of love from the moment you are born. Because you are driven to. Because love is the meaning of life itself. And many milestones accompany this journey of discovering, having and losing love.

Here are 21 love milestones you don’t want to miss. They don’t necessarily happen in any particular chronological order, but you will experience them at some point. Which milestone are you on? Which ones haven’t you been through? And which ones do you look forward to?

1. You hear about this crazy little thing called love.

Can you even remember that far back? There was a moment in time—in your life—when you saw, heard about, or read about this thing called ‘love.’ Maybe it involved giggles on the playground, a flashlight under your covers as a young child buried in a book, or seeing two lovers kissing on the street.

2. You realize with certainty that a parent loves you.

There is a moment you can pick, if you think back, that you can look at and say, “Yep, my Mom loves me,” or, “My Dad loves me even though he may not have said ‘I love you’ since I was past the age of 10, or so.” Maybe it was a smile of pride in your direction. Through their own ‘stuff’, you can pick a moment as your parental milestone of love: a symbol of their love for you.

3. You discover books about love.

Suddenly you’re part of the book you’re reading, swept into the story of two people falling in love. It happened to me at a young age, reading L.M. Montgomery’s Anne Of Green Gables. Maybe for you it’s identifying with Betty and Veronica in the Archie comics, or Cinderella. There’s a first time you read about love.

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4. You’re transfixed by a love story in a movie.

This milestone is when you have your own moment in a movie that transfers love from the screen right to your heart. Maybe it’s the old-fashioned classic, where Bogart says goodbye to Bergman—forever. Or maybe it’s the Disney movie that gets you, that makes you want to shake it all up and make your love better.

For my six-year-old, infatuated with cars, all he could talk about after seeing Disney’s Cars movie was not the cars, but how the plane fell in love with the race car, and they kissed. He was hooked! On love, that is.

5. Your friend falls in love.

You watch your friend’s love unfold before your eyes, hearing every detail (more than once). Maybe it makes you believe in love again, or reinforces the love you have. Perhaps it stirs up the realization that there’s something they have that you want. So badly. And it may even change your friendship.

6. You see how someone loves you in black and white.

Before email, we had letters. Remember? Those things where you take a pen and write out what you want to say on a piece of stationery and put it into an envelope? Okay, we’ll allow a love email, or a love message that you print out and can save forever.

7. You did it. You fell in love for the first time.

Hit by a ton of bricks. Yup, it’s happened to you. You fell in love. Oh, so this is what all the talk is about. Knowing that, yes, you can find love, and yes, you have found love. Wow! The first time you knew you were in love is your first love ever, whether it’s the one you end up with or not. I mean, it’s your First Love! Who was your first love? Don’t have one yet? Don’t despair! This is a milestone worth dreaming about and fighting for.

8. You hold hands for the first time with someone you love.

The electricity of touch. The first time you hold hands with a beloved gets etched in your memory. Where were you when you touched for the first time, or had her arm around your waist, his hand around your shoulder?

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9. Your first kiss ever in this lifetime.

K-I-S-S-I-N-G! Where was your first kiss? Who started it? Did you bump noses? How was it? Did you tell your friends? Are you still waiting for it?

10. You hear “I love you” for the first time.

This milestone is hearing those three little words for the very first time from a romantic partner: “I love you.” You feel included, welcomed, like you’ve been initiated into the tribe of the lovers. You come alive in a way you never have before.

11. You realize there is love for you outside of romantic love.

Do you allow the universe to love you? Did you fall in love with the moon? The stars are winking at you, if only you’ll look up. Take the time, if you haven’t already, to acknowledge this love, and allow the sun to keep you warm and shine its light upon you. We often don’t realize that this is a milestone in love, to stop and realize that, yes, the world loves you!

12. You consider doing scary things in the name of love.

Here’s a scary love milestone. Have you ever wanted to stalk someone, or follow their every move because you love them? Well, of course, not the illegal kind of stalking, rather the girlfriend kind. You know, getting on the phone and calling whoever knows them and asking when and where they saw them and with whom. Or Googling his or her name, or wanting to drive by their house or work to see if you can catch a glimpse?

Has someone made you feel so passionate about them that you lie awake wondering how to find out more about them?

13. You are completely and utterly depressed over love.

You realize—shocked—that love is not everything you hoped and dreamed it would be. You shut the curtains and ignore your phone. Maybe it’s the relationship you’re in that’s let you down, or you’re not finding the love you want. You mourn, darkness descends. That is, until the sun peeks through the slot in the window dressing, and you’re driven to seek out love again.

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14. You find forgiveness in your heart for someone you love.

Your romantic partner messes up, big time, and you know they don’t deserve your loving, yet you find a way to move on and love them anyway. This is the milestone of unconditional forgiveness in love. Maybe you don’t find forgiveness; or you can’t yet. Then you contemplate forgiveness.

15. You really, really, really love yourself and say so out loud.

Did you ever stop to think about loving yourself? Go ahead, grab your phone, smile, take a selfie. How much do you really love yourself? Stop in the mirror and look into your eyes and say, “I love you,” to yourself for the first time. Then do it again and again.

16. You slam the door shut on love forever (then you open it again).

You doubt love exists, and you close the door. You see lovers in the street, and stake your claim in the disbelief of love, well, not for you anyway. The country songs are right. You realize that love does not really exist and you don’t think you will ever have it, or ever have it again. You’re OK with that. Then you start listening to the country songs backwards…

17. You receive your first gift from someone you love.

Whether it’s the first gift you get from someone you love, or the first gift you give to someone you love. Whatever it is, it’s priceless.

18. You are rejected in love and feel like you died.

It’s the R word. Rejection. Someone doesn’t love you the way you love them and says, “No.” No to your love. This arrow lands in the center of your heart and you sit and bleed, trying to stop the pain with something else, like ice cream, or hours on the phone with a friend trying to make sense of it.

This is truly a mini death. You get through it and move on, and have your first love scar that (supposedly) makes you stronger.

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19. You have your heart broken.

Your heart is completely and utterly broken by someone you love. Like Humpty Dumpty kind of broken, where all the kings horses can’t even help. Shattered love all over the floor. Someone said or did something unexpected. This is one milestone you don’t need to achieve in life, yet somehow most of us do. This is like a rite of passage. You go through your first heartbreak: it grows you up.

20. You find love in a group.

The world can be lonely at times, and knowing the feeling of being part of a group of some sort can be full of love. Be it a support group, lunch club, business network or clique at the bar or bowling alley. To know that a group has your back and loves you, and you love them, is an experience so different from love with one person. It’s a wonderful love milestone to have gone through a tough time and felt the group’s love holding you up.

21. You are promised eternal love.

Some day, somewhere, someone promises to love you forever.

Have you found the love that you dream will last forever? Maybe you’re far away from that dream. Remember this: there are always steps to finding any treasure, and love is no different.

Time spent in each love milestone, even if it’s dark and hopeless, brings maturity and growth. Whatever milestone you’re on, cherish it and know the next one is waiting to capture your heart.

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Esther Litchfield-Fink

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

1. A Positive Attitude

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

2. Confidence

All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

  • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
  • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

3. A Sense of Humor

It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

4. Ability to Embrace Failure

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

5. Careful Listening and Feedback

This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

  • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

7. Growth Mindset

Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

8. Responsibility

Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

9. A Desire to Learn

It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

The Bottom Line

Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

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