It’s Valentine’s Day and I wanted to post something relevant without being too pro- or anti- Valentine’s Day.

Let’s be honest, there are some strong polarising views out there and I just don’t feel one way or the other. I’d say I’m indifferent.

So, I’ve compiled a list of what I regard to be some of the best life lessons in love. They aren’t necessarily learnt from personal experience – some are things I’ve picked up from other people, films, books and podcasts.

I think it’s also important to note that these lessons can be applied to romantic relationships, friendships and self love.

In addition, yes, I am a female writing this, but this is applicable to anyone – male or female.

“Life will keep throwing the same lesson at you until you learn it”

1. Never accept less than you’re worth. There’s a great quote in The Perks of Being a Wallflower (it’s probably in other things too) “people accept the love they think they deserve”

2. Don’t settle. You might regret it if you’re comparing yourself to other people and starting to panic, if you’re scared of being alone or don’t have the confidence to believe you deserve better when in fact you do. This podcast gave me a great perspective on this (I also read the book too)

3. Listen to your gut. Have you heard the expression ‘gut reaction’ or ‘gut feeling’? If you get a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach – that’s your instincts talking. Listen to them – they’ve been keeping our relatives safe since they were cavemen and women. If something is off, trust your instincts. You might not be able to figure it out straight away, but eventually all of the pieces of the puzzle will come together

4. If it’s not good during the ‘honeymoon’ period, it probably won’t ever be, because that’s the best part, hence why it’s call the honeymoon period

5. Don’t lose yourself. Easier said than done but you’re still fundamentally you, even if you’re a team and part of something else. Do you have hobbies? Do you still make the effort with your friends? If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, maybe check why this is – have you lost yourself?

6. Relationships are hard work – whether friendship or romantic. Relationships are between two people, and as such, both people are equally relevant. Compromise is key – it shouldn’t always be about one person

7. Are you a love monkey? Swinging from one relationship to the next could leave unresolved issues. If you’ve just broken up with someone and you’ve already moved on, ask yourself this: have you given yourself enough time to get over the last relationship? I appreciate this varies from person to person, and the length and the intensity of the relationship

8. Relationships aren’t everything – I recently read this blog by one of my favourite travel bloggers. Being single can give you time for you, whether to heal, reconnect with yourself or find a better match

9. “This person has great potential”. Okay, they might have potential at work, but they don’t have the potential to be this or that in a partner – people are who they are. And often, we assign qualities to potential partners without actually witnessing them in real life

10. Oprah: “When people show you who they are, believe them” – watch the video here

11. If you have to fundamentally change who you are to impress someone – they’re not worth it

12. Hindsight is a great thing

13. It’s always easier looking in from the outside. Sometimes love really is blind, whether you’re on the inside and can’t see it, or you have a friend in a relationship that can’t see it. Ultimately you may look back and think ‘wow I can’t believe I was that person’, but don’t beat yourself up about it – life is about learning

14. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t truly love anyone else

15. Misplaced emotions. You might feel irritable, grumpy or fed up and think it’s one thing when actually it’s unhappiness and dissatisfaction from your relationship seeping into other aspects of your life. It might be worth taking some time to explore where these feelings are coming from and figuring out what’s really going on

16. Toxic relationships are unhealthy for all concerned, but you might not be able to address them until you’re in the right place

17. Are you always picking the same type but it just doesn’t work? Why do you keep picking the same people? Is your picker broken? 

18. Endings can be hard. Perhaps the hardest thing in life. But I think it’s important to remember this is a natural part of life, just like beginnings. I recently read this interesting article on The Guardian about how people marked their divorces

19. I read a great book called The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz and one particular case study was really interesting. It highlighted a woman who really wasn’t getting what she wanted – big things like marriage and children – because her partner kept putting it off. Eventually she realised she’d never get what she wanted. She was so upset, she couldn’t move forward. The therapist explained she was mourning their lost future, rather than the reality of how things actually were in the present

20. If something seems too good to be true – it probably is. (This applies to all aspects of life, not just relationships)

21. It can be good to learn lessons from the past, but don’t dwell on them and get stuck there

“Don’t fall in love, rise in love”

Do you have any top tips?

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