Photo by aeschleah
By Leigh Harris
Lessons in finding love can hurt and they can be a steep learning curve. Sometimes I wish I had more answers, sooner, especially when it came to discovering the source of true love.
In my late teens and early 20’s, I thought I knew love, but was far from it. In a quest to finding love, I would always try too hard to make the relationship work. It was an effort based on social ideals, but nothing to do with myself. I feared I couldn’t live up to someone else’s expectations. My expectations–for both of us– would fall short.
Despite trying hard to find love outside of myself, I realized at some point I had become who I thought he wanted me to be, not who I really was. I made mistakes. In making up for them, I spent so much time trying… trying to please, trying to be happy, trying to make it work… I no longer knew who the real me was.
The following are 5 key lessons I’ve learned over the years through understanding relationships and ultimately finding love.
Love Lesson 1: “Trying” Doesn’t Work
Trying is an effort forward with ties to the past. It lacks a genuine loving connection with someone in the present.
Trying to do better doesn’t make it better. It lacks commitment. Instead, use the words: do, be, or connect. For example, instead of saying “I am trying to make this work” say “I am here” or “help me to connect with you.” This is positive action. It creates progress in a relationship.
In my own life, mistakes were common. I said the wrong thing, acted too desperate, or wasn’t interested enough.
However, I couldn’t find the space to forgive myself, no matter how big or small my error had been. Guilt (“I wish I’d never said that”) turned into frustration (“if he didn’t react that way we’d be fine”). It was a negative circle.
Love Lesson 2: Accept yourself
Accept all of yourself, including habits, mistakes and successes. Continue to learn and grow, but in an environment of acceptance, not self-criticism.
Each person is unique. We aren’t supposed to be perfect. Imperfection provides us with opportunities and challenges throughout our whole lives. But we can still love ourselves and our flaws.
Back then I didn’t know enough to love myself, even if I could get past the mistakes. I thought love was only found through another person. Not only did I bury myself in frustration, I was searching in the wrong place.
The right place to find true love was within me.
Love Lesson 3: Find Love Within You
Love is felt and experienced inside of you. Passion, desire and devotion may be about another person, but love is about YOU. How YOU feel and express yourself. The choices YOU make, and the happiness that bubbles up inside you.
Once I discovered where to find love, I developed my relationship with me. I wrote in a journal, unearthed my real self and experienced activities which brought me joy. I learned to forgive past mistakes, and connected more deeply with friends.
Love Lesson 4: Discover Within
Discover who you are and what you have to celebrate with others.
When a relationship isn’t working as planned, look inside for the strength and solution. You can only change yourself. If you feel unhappy, take time to discover its source, and then create happiness in its place.
Change what you can, and embrace and nurture what you can’t.
One day while driving my car, a favorite song came on the radio. I blasted the volume, opened the windows, and sang as loud as I could. A car full of people drove by, smiling, laughing and giving me the thumbs up.” I laughed back, feeling happy, feeling the love within myself as it bubbled over affecting others with its energy.
Later that year I met my husband.
We’ve been married almost 12 years. Through my relationship with myself I can create a stronger bond of love with him, openly experience the natural mistakes and “tries” of marriage, and feel more love within myself.
Love Lesson 5: Express Love Genuinely
Express love as a genuine extension of yourself.
Love is the ability to give of yourself unconditionally, knowing how wonderful it makes you feel, and how grateful you are for the people or person who is in your life. Love is an expression of yourself, and an energetic connection.
Love is all about you. It is what you put into the relationship, what you want out of it, and it is a reflection of how much you love yourself.
The energy of love exudes bliss. When you give love to others with grace and freedom, they will feel it.
I would like to tell my younger self what I’ve learned, but without my mistakes and lessons, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I accept that. Do you?
About the Author
Leigh Harris is a happily married mother of two, currently writing a book about metaphysical parenting, and always learning. More of her thoughts and insights are on her blog, Metaphysical Mom, and she can be reached at her website, http://www.leigh-harris.com.
Related Articles on Finding Love
- Insecurities: Slice From My Diary
- How to Find Love
- Finding Happiness
- When Couples Fight
- The Secret to Self Loving
- How to Get Over a Break Up
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