On Love and Learning

There’s something interesting about the word ‘LOVE.’ It’s something that’s developed and changed over time. We learn more about it as we learn and grow in other ways. When I was younger, I always said “I love you” back to my parents, and I heard about love from storybooks and movies. That was always the sort of love that I knew I would find when I was older. That was always something I was certain would just happen once I hit a certain age. I was sure of it.

Well, obviously, I was wrong. I went through high school too occupied with myself and the future to be focused on love (and boy did that bite me in the butt mentally and emotionally). I got to college – in a new place and absolutely terrified – and was still too invested in other things to think too much about love. I zombie-walked through my freshman year hoping desperately that someone would spot me across the room and fall in love with me just like the movies. That’s how it happens, right?

No, it’s not. And I learned that very quickly and in a very not-fun way. Fast forward to sophomore year – I think it can be dubbed as the year I learned how to love, how to not love, but, more importantly, when to love and not love. Really vague and daunting, I know. Let me explain (or try to).

I was swept off my feet by a boy – absolutely stunned that someone finally actually liked me (like like-liked me, you know?). So blah, blah, blah lots of stuff happened and anything that went wrong or didn’t feel right, I just brushed it off. Eventually, this relationship that I had pretended was so perfect came to an end. I was crushed – not only because it was over, but because it taught me too much about myself. [Not that I don’t want to learn about myself, merely because it all sort of hit me at once].

For one: Love isn’t like it is in the movies. The boy doesn’t always fall for the girl – (sometimes a girl falls for a girl or a boy falls for a boy, but that’s a completely different story). Don’t expect to actually be swept off your feet. Don’t expect the picture perfect relationship from all the romance novels – it’s not going to happen that way and you’re just going to be disappointed.

Second: I love a lot – sometimes too much. I easily love and I very easily give love. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, I consider it one of my redeeming qualities. BUT this relationship made me realize that sometimes I give way too much of myself to other people and that can sometimes lead to me being stressed, overwhelmed and worn out. For too many months, I gave a lot of myself and always felt let down when it wasn’t reciprocated.

Finally: Love isn’t just something simple. It’s complex and tricky and you don’t just figure it out immediately. It has so many different facets and you feel/express it in so many different ways. It can be for your mom, for your dog, your best friend or a romantic partner. Love is complicated and you’re not going to figure it out on the first try.

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” 
― William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well

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