Yesterday I read this article about love from Elephant Journal and it got me thinking about the lessons we learn through love. In the article, the author, Kate Rose writes that we basically fall in love with 3 people in our lifetime and there are specific reasons why. While reading it, I kept continually nodding my head in agreement as I went through the reasons why we fall in love with each love – while saving the best for last (your 3rd love). Her argument is that people need to go through each one in order to bring them to their 3rd and final true love. And this is the interesting part about the whole lessons learned idea, because the key is that you learned the lessons that you needed to, in order to move on. Learning lessons from love can be beneficial not only to our future relationships but also to growing as a person.
In my past, I admit that I haven’t always made the best choices in partners and it’s not always been pretty, but I don’t regret any of my relationships because they have made me who I am today and along the way made me see head on things I needed to work on in myself in order to find the right love that works for me.
Often times we blame others for not living up to the standards that we want them to, which can partly be attributed to the demise of a relationship, but it should also signal within us to question who we are in the relationship and why we chose this person in the first place. I’ve gone through the gamut of reasons for choosing partners from “they look good on paper” to “I’m lonely and just need company” to “Oh boy the clock is ticking, I just need to find someone.” Needless to say, all terrible reasons to want to be in a relationship with someone.
I think the greatest lessons I learned from my past relationships (including real loves, and not so real loves) is discovering who I am and what I really wanted. I don’t think I would have ended up with the person I’m with now if I hadn’t gone through all those other relationships and self discovery that came with it, and he feels the same about his life.
Discovering yourself through past relationships
I’m not saying that you have to define yourself through past relationships, but it can shape a part of who you are. It is definitely important to grow and work on yourself at all times (whether single or in a partnership) – but within a relationship, it does bring out different parts of you that you wouldn’t necessarily explore if you were single. I learned a lot about myself and how much I would be willing to put up with, which is quite a lot actually. But that’s not always a great thing. Had I learned to love myself more, I definitely wouldn’t have put up with some of the people that I was with, but alas, I had to go through them and all that heartache to come to the point where I could finally see myself being worthy of love and hence getting rid of the riff raff who were undeserving of my love.
I’m not being conceited with this notion, in my opinion self love is really about loving yourself and treating yourself with respect but not in a way that hurts or destroys others.
Discovering what you really want through past relationships
The best way of knowing what you want in a relationship is experiencing everything you don’t want. It sounds weird, but it’s so true. In the beginning, I had no idea what I wanted in a relationship, I basically thought it had to look like all those perfect relationships I would see on TV and in the movies, and so that’s what I kept looking for, which wasn’t what I wanted, it’s what society wanted. And then I went through a period of rebellion and went with people that I knew society would frown upon, which was my way to stick it to them because the “perfect” relationships I had pinned all my high hopes on hadn’t worked out. Unfortunately the only person who got “stuck it to” was me. But then again, it was a blessing in disguise because it got me to the point of questioning who I was and what I was looking for. And I had my ups and downs and lapses in judgement even after a bunch of personal growth I thought I had nailed. I was and still am, a work in progress.
In conclusion, I like to look at love as part of the life lessons we need to go through, and what is the purpose of lessons but to learn?