A Few Lessons Learned In Love

9 May 2013
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If you are remotely introspective, reflective and open to learning from your experiences – and if you’ve ever been “in love” – then you might agree that the “lessons” to be learned are endless.  Love can be a profound experience, one that often defies logic, rationale and common sense.  The heart wants what the heart wants…which is not always aligned with the rest of you.

Lesson # 1: Your gut is your guide.

Listen to it. It exists for a reason and serves a purpose.  Had I listened to my gut – my internal and moral compass – I wouldn’t have married the person I did.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do not regret my decision to marry the person I did, loved him very much at the time, and took my wedding vows very seriously but, in hindsight, I knew something was wrong, almost from the beginning, and too often I hear the same story from others…that they knew – as they walked down the aisle – that something wasn’t right.

When something isn’t sitting right inside you, when you have an “icky” yet indescribable feeling, when there is a discomfort or pit in your stomach that you can’t quite pin down…that’s your gut and it’s talking to you. Listen to it.  A brilliant woman I once had the pleasure of working with during my healing journey said simply:  If it feels yucky, then it’s yucky.

Lesson # 2: Compatibility trumps chemistry.

Although it’s that elusive “chemistry” that most of us seem to be chasing, it’s not usually what forms the foundation of a healthy and sustainable relationship. Chemistry might bridge the gap from strangers to lovers but it’s not the glue that keeps couples together…compatibility is. When you’re compatible it means that you share similar values, morals, parenting styles, lifestyles and relationship goals (to name a few).

I’m not saying to favour compatibility over chemistry or that the two are mutually exclusive.  I’m simply suggesting that you weigh the two at least equally, and be weary of relationships built solely on chemistry.

Lesson # 3: Resentment toward another person is really just disappointment with yourself.

When you resent someone for their actions (or lack of) it should be an alert to yourself that you have unresolved feelings which require processing and follow through.

Think of the last time you felt “resentful” or used the word “resent” to describe how you were feeling.  Wasn’t it because someone else had done something (or not done something) that affected you negatively?  Did you say anything to that person?  Did you address the issue with them?  If you were feeling “resentment” then the answer is “probably not”.

Now…think of the last time you constructively told someone how their actions affected you negatively. How did you feel after? Probably relieved, resolved, empowered, liberated…better.  When you are feeling resentment it’s because you haven’t been honest with yourself about how you’re feeling.  You have not given the other  person the opportunity to address the issue and work through it, together.  Resentment often goes hand-in-hand with silence.  When this happens, the only person who suffers is YOU.

Typically, feeling resentful necessarily means that the other person (people) do not know how you’re feeling, so it’s impossible and unfair to hold them accountable.

The residual affect of having your feelings unaddressed and allowing them to fester inside of you is what we know as resentment.  It is a “you” issue, not a “them” issue.

Lesson # 4: How you feel when you’re away from a romantic interest is just as important as how you feel when you’re with them.

If you find that in someone else’s absence you’re anxious, on edge, insecure, suspicious, uncomfortable or otherwise overly distracted by thoughts of them and what they might be doing, who they might be doing it with and why you’re not hearing from them then it’s usually a sign that either you have some issues to work through and/or you are not with the right person.  In a healthy, emotionally safe relationship, you feel secure in your relationship whether the person is physically in your presence or not.

What lessons have you learned from love?