Only a four letter word, but it serves so many different meanings. Every time you think of it – so many different thoughts & emotions come into play.
A few long-term relationships, a ton of short-lived ones, a couple baby-mamas, a lot of pop-ups/drive-by’s, some slashed tires, & 10+ years later : & i still don’t have it all figured out myself. But here’s what I do know:
- falling in love with potential is dangerous. although its easier said than done – you have to see situations for what they are…and not what you want them to be. there are no grey areas in life. only black and white. so don’t hold onto a situation, in hopes that a miracle will occur, because 9/10 it won’t. by holding on, you are only enabling the situation. what you allow will continue. for a very long time this was probably one of my biggest struggles i faced from relationship to relationship. why ? : – because i used to collect people. & pretty f-ked up people at that. i would collect them and i would try to fix them. a people fixer, if you will. it took me a very long time to realize: you can’t try to piece together broken glass without the expectation of getting cut (hurting yourself in the process). we will so easily change our appearance when we get sick and tired of it. we will quit our jobs when we feel complacent. we throw away clothes we no longer desire to wear or that don’t fit… but we can never seem to apply these same theories to our relationships. instead we try to change people who aren’t willing to change, hoping that the circumstances will change along with them. we will exhaust all options and efforts. it’s understandable as we tend to experience a roller coaster of emotions, intensity, and passion. it causes us to immediately suit up and be prepared to go to war. we become willing to do anything to make a situation work – or for what we think is love. and although there is nothing wrong with fighting for who and what we love – the question becomes : is it worth fighting for? which bring me to my next point:
- know your worth. we all love at our own level. our own perception of how we think love should be provided and what we think love truly is. with that being said, you will never find the kind of love you are giving and looking for if you don’t look for it from someone who has that exact same level of understanding of love as you do. stop having expectations of reciprocity from someone who can’t quite yet – or is not yet willing to comprehend love on your level. and to do this, you have to know your own worth. your own level. what do you bring to the table? what are you willing or not willing to accept? what do you want to manifest from your relationship? once these types of questions have been answered, then find someone who shares those same values. in retrospect, i once took a year-long hiatus from the dating scene. during that time, i had the attention span of a 2 yr. old when it came to guys.no one could keep my attention. i was not interested in anything, intimately. and this was because i was too busy occupying myself. getting to know me. who i was and what it was i wanted. i was busy reflecting and accepting. analyzing past situations and realizing where they took a turn for the worst. taking things for what they were. i was busy taking into consideration the types of situations i did not want to encounter again, as well as those that i did. during that time, i was in a relationship with me. and ironically, i was completely content and focused doing so. that alone time, along with a little prayer went a long way for me. the next thing i knew i was falling in love all over again – at a time when i never thought i would. but this time it was all different. everything just felt different. everything was new. but looking back, i know those feelings had perfect timing. i would have been too immature to accept or comprehend those new, unexpected feelings – had they fell in my lap any sooner. i needed that alone time beforehand, otherwise i would not have known how to appreciate what all it was that i was receiving. from my alone time, i was able to re-evaluate and re-define my worth. and that’s what it all boils down to. give yourself time to heal. don’t accept misery because you fear being alone. do not try to jump from situation to situation in attempt to fill a void. you have to be able to find comfort in your solitude and your own company. once you can do this you will never experience those moments of loneliness again. nor, will you ever feel like you need another person to make you feel complete. because the truth is – you don’t. don’t allow another person to define your worth. only you have that right. if you aren’t loving and accepting of yourself, then how can someone else be? furthermore, magical, breath-taking, spontaneous love doesn’t manifest when two broken individuals pair up. when you take two whole, healed, & open-hearted individuals and put them together – that is when sparks fly. know your worth. i strongly believe in the universe and everything that it conspires. you get out what you put out. when you are open and ready to receive – you will. likewise, if you are constantly blocking your blessings and defying what is meant for you – by occupying spaces with negative people and negative situations… then that is what you will ultimately get. tumultuous up’s and down’s, until you value yourself enough to give your love to someone worthy and understanding of it.
- feelings vs. compatibility. lust vs. love. don’t confuse “a feeling” that someone is giving you with the genuine feelings you have towards them. let that one marinate for a second. feelings are temporary. so what happens when feelings fade away and the honeymoon phase is long gone? then you are left with nothing to hold on to. it’s so fun and refreshing meeting someone new and getting put onto a feeling you have never felt before. but keep in mind that, everything that’s new to you will one day become old to you. so before you get too deep, really assess your feelings towards that person. clear the smoke and mirrors. so many factors can cloud our judgement when it comes to this: sex, security, finances, etc. you have to really ask yourself if you love this person whole-heartedly. unapologetically. limitlessly. aside from everything else. or are you just settling? or filling a temporary void?
- don’t be afraid to be selfish with yourself. self-love is still important and should be your main priority, even when in a relationship. don’t forget how to identify yourself and your wants and your needs. we get into relationships and become selfless and wrapped up. we stop hanging out with our friends and families as much. and we forget to put ourselves first. until…we find ourselves spending our last ounce of energy on our relationship. leaving nothing for ourselves. not realizing that – you can’t love if you are not at your best. it is only at your best that you can give someone the love they deserve. love should never be about attachment,acquiring, or keeping. the idea is to grow together. alongside one another. so still make time for yourself. still follow your own dreams. still love yourself. allow yourself alone time when needed. you owe it to yourself, as well as your partner to be the best you that you can be. – ♡ Chelsea
Love is the most addicting drug known to man…at least that’s what they say. As a little girl, I imagined love being much like the Disney movies – a magical fairy tale that sweeps you off your feet. The type of love that makes you so happy, that just thinking about it makes you combust. At least that’s how I always imagined it to be. But, boy was I WRONG.
At 25, I cannot say that I am an expert on love but I can tell you that I have felt almost every kind of love there is. The good, the bad, & the ugly. After my many trials and tribulations, I’ve come to one solid conclusion: until you are fully aware of yourself, and until you love yourself – it is nearly impossible to truly love another human being. In the past, I have tried to understand all the relationships/ friendships that I have had. Whether they have failed or are still continuing. I tried figuring out what set them all apart. Until a light bulb went off. I started to analyze myself instead of analyzing the relationships. What kind of conditions was I in when I entered the relationship? What happened when it ended? How did I feel, and where was I in my life? From there, I started thinking about the different people I was involved with. What did I find so interesting? What characteristics did they have that I liked? It was then that I realized that I don’t have a type. From the types of friends I hang out with, to the type of men I have dated, it has always been with a wide variety of people. This then made me reflect and question if I even knew myself? If I didn’t know myself, how could I ever show or give love to someone else?
At this point in my life, I have chalked all those relationships and friendships up as lessons learned. Everything that I have been through in my life, has gotten me where I am today. Through those experiences, I have grown to have a better understanding of myself. Those relationships helped me grow, regardless of how good or bad they ended. I learned something from every single person in my life. They have all helped shape and mold me in one way or another. They either made me want to stray far away as possible from some or lean in a little closer to others. I don’t believe that without these connections that we form in life – we would be able to get to truly know ourselves.
Consequently, I have also grown to learn that, the lack of love or love that we are missing in our lives – can affect how we receive and give love. I used to refuse to be that girl who would place blame on my “daddy issues”. I used to want to believe that the lack of my father’s presence in my life made me better or stronger. But, after growing and experiencing, I’ve realized that,that lack of love is exactly why I found myself in relationships that were no good for me.You never know how you are supposed to be treated when you have never had anyone love you like a father is supposed to, or love you like a mother is supposed to. This is not to say that my father didn’t love me, however, him not being present made it very easy for me to feel like it was love coming from another man when it really wasn’t.
I can most definitely say that I am still a work in progress. I’ve learned how to love myself first and foremost. I’m literally obsessed with myself at times and that’s perfect – because now I would never let any man treat me less than how I feel about myself.
Fast forward to now.
Further into my journey of figuring out what it means to love, I’ve been reading a book titled “The 5 Love Languages” by Gray Chapman. The book focuses on the theory that it is believed that all people love differently. That we all speak a different love language. This theory stuck out to me because I am a firm believer that not all people think the same. In fact, no one person is the same at all. From the way we communicate, to the way we act, our different taste in music or food – is all different. So I question, why is it that we don’t have these same ideas about love? In essence, we love and we feel love in so many totally different ways.
The book goes into detail, by giving 5 different examples of love and how we as humans reciprocate love. The 5 examples are:
- words of affirmation
- quality time
- acts of kindness
It continues by breaking down what each of these mean. |touch : meaning the want and need for physical affection |words of affirmation: complimenting your partner. telling them how attractive or smart they are, etc |quality time : spending actual time with your partner and enjoying one another’s company |acts of kindness : helping around the house, etc. |gifts : symbolizing your love through material items.
Love is not just a feeling, but something that actually takes work. Understanding that we all love differently, requires us to ackowledge that our version of love may be different from our partners or our peers. It requires actually taking the time to understand and appreciate the differences – so that your partner does feels loved. That is what love is about. It’s about being selfless and having an understanding of your partner’s needs – as well as your own.
I’ve realized through my failed attempts and relationships, that one of the most important things is communication. Particurlarly, in this generation and those to come, the skills to communicate are not there. There are so many things pulling us apart (social media, work, life, etc.) that we forget to actually make time to talk and have meaningful conversations. Conversations about you and your partner’s dreams, ideas, wants, and needs. Communication is key because the idea of a relationship – is understanding where the both of you are going. What you want to come from your relationship and finding someone who wants the same.
With that in mind, I am constantly working on my friendships and relationships. Now that I can understand that everything I choose to feed and direct my attention to – is a manifestation and reflection of my life, I am alot more cautious. I know that I still have a lot to learn and that I am still growing. But I continue to love myself more each and every day – and that quite frankly, is what love is. A work in progress. -Jo