12 LESSONS LEARNED IN LOVE

Lesson #1 – Love vs. Fear. Don’t Confuse Them.

Ultimately, we have the ability to choose between these two.

The most succinct contrast I’ve seen is this:

“Fear is the energy which contracts, closes down, draws in, runs, hides, hordes, harms. Love is the energy which expands, opens up, sends out, stays, reveals, shares, heals.

Fear wraps our bodies in clothing, love allows us to stand naked. Fear clings to and clutches all that we have, love gives all that we have away.

Fear holds close, love holds dear, Fear grasps, love lets go. Fear rankles, love soothes, Fear attacks, love amends.”

Lesson #2 – Separate Love from Need and Wanting.

Ignore popular culture.  Separate love from need and wanting.  Do not confuse these even though songs, TV, and literature often make them the same.

They are not.

  1. Need is the belief that you cannot possibly live without that someone or something.
  2. Wanting is the belief that you do not have something and the desire to obtain it.  When you grasping for a want, you are saying it’s a need. e.g. “Please don’t leave me. I can’t live without you”.

I say belief here because I’ve noticed that in changing my mind about what I need, some things have fallen away.

They were never needs or wants at all.

I was after something else that I thought that the want or need would bring me. Like asking for a soda because I was thirsty and only after realizing that soda actually dehydrates me in the long run.

Certainly attraction is part of love, but when you start to grasp and become desperate, you’ve left the realm of love.

You simply cannot force or manipulate someone into loving you.

Wanting is fine in that it can expose our desires and motivations, but if you have an expectation that your wants will always be fulfilled, you are crossing the line into need.

The more you need from another, less you can truly love them. 

You are generating your internal energy and well-being from trying to control your outside world.

Controlling the outside world is always a struggle.

You end up running your life like it’s a juggling match, trying to arrange it so all your needs and wants can be met.

How are you going to love someone if they do not show up how you need them too?

You get bitter, resentful, or at the least, drained.

Naturally, you will fear losing the outside source of your well-being and you attempt to control the other person(s).

This suffocates your relationship(s) over time.

Confusing love and need leads to mistaken ideas like jealously is love, drama in a relationship is love, codependence is love, love hurts, and other such confusion.

While these are common and normal, they are not at all related to love.

Love is NOT need.

Lesson #3 – There is Only So Much Love to Go Around.

This is a fear based idea. There may be limited time or resources to spend on people, but when you give love to one person, you don’t have less to give to another. 

If anything, I’ve found that it can increase your capacity to love elsewhere.

Jealousy is our ego saying “I’m not getting enough”.

This should be addressed in the relationship by accepting it, loving it and then moving on from it.

Concentrate on what you want to create with the other person and who they are being with you vs what else they are doing with their time or energy.

Get out of the scarcity mentality.

Lesson #4 – Unconditional Love. No Conditions. Not trading.

Give to empower with the birthday present model   Unconditional love means “love without condition”.

Much of this confusion can come from religious beliefs since many tell us that we have to meet some criteria for “the Creator” to love us. 

Entertain that it’s possible to love someone without conditions and the more whole you are, the more that’s possible.

Most of us have rarely experienced that because of the confusion with love and need.

Unconditional love can only be given when the giver is not dependent on the other person for something. 

The givers love has to be generated internally.

It follows that true love is freely given without requirement or expectation. It’s a gift.

This doesn’t mean the giver doesn’t have needs as well, but a giver can remove the expectation of receiving when they give.

Do not turn “I love you very much” into “I trade you very much”.

If as the giver you are getting drained, then concentrate on what will give you energy.

Don’t demand that that energy come from your lover.  Ask for it, but don’t demand it

If you are tired of giving, stop and recharge.

If you notice the giving is disempowering someone and making them more dependent, stop giving and help them to learn to meet their own needs.

I try to remember this by thinking about getting or giving a birthday present. I give with no strings attached and I try to give what the other person says they want.

It is easier if they tell me what  they want instead of my trying to guess, but I’m willing to try either way.

That gift should mean something to them, not necessarily to me.

The other person may throw the gift out, that’s fine. I draw energy in that I gave.

Then if I need something myself and I don’t get it for my birthday, I go out and buy it for myself. I encourage the other person to do the same and not rely on me to give them everything they want. 

This frees everyone up to receive and to give without putting expectations into the picture. We don’t expect to get our basic needs met on our birthday.

I’m not going to rely on someone to feed me via birthday presents.

Lesson # 5 – Fearful Protection is Only Necessary Because of Our Needs and Wounds.

Heal them and you reduce the need to protect yourself.

As mentioned in point 1, love expands and opens itself.

What about being hurt? Where does that come from?

That’s pretty common in our close relationships.

If someone physically hurts us, that’s a bodily response. But most of the pain around love in relationships starts or remains in the emotional area.

I’ve used the model of “emotional wounds” in myself. It makes it easier to think about what I should do because it seems more obvious if I had a physical wound.

When someone touches an emotional wound in me, it’s like they’ve brushed up against an open wound on my skin.

It hurts. 

We are hurt when someone reinforces judgments we may suspect about ourselves.

Those judgments show up as our wounds.

Use caution, but not fear.

Caution here means that you realize that you have these sensitivities and you don’t needlessly expose them and get hurt.

Fear would mean you are in a constant state of dread that someone will hit them and so you run away or seal up.

If you suspect that someone is likely to reject you, factor that in to how you proceed.

Caution acknowledges natural consequences.

You want to play football, but you’ve got a wound. So you put on a band-aid or even a plastic covering taking into account the environment you are entering.

However, when the need to protect yourself or another comes along with anger and emotional drama, it’s from fear.

When there is a desire for retribution, that’s fear.

Often when we open up, we at the same time fear that another will not. 

Others behavior can inform you. It doesn’t have to hurt. 

You can actually be open and not be hurt. The hurt comes from needing another to return that same feeling, thus proving you are lovable.

If you believe that you are lovable, this is not a problem.

You simply move on to those where you can express love and receive it back.

Lesson # 6 – The More Needs You Have About How Someone is Supposed to Show Up, the More You Have to Protect Yourself.

Personally, I make it okay that my mate can change her mind about what she wants in the future and so can I.

This allows for growth. 

The less you give yourself from the inside, the more requirements you have about how others show up.

The more you love and accept yourself, the less necessary it is to protect those inner parts and you don’t resist change.

Lesson # 7 – Ultimately, Love Lets Go.

If you’ve followed what’s above, then you understand that “needing” and “grasping” is fear based. 

When you don’t need as much, you can see that you can continue to love people even when their wants and desire conflict with yours.

Lesson # 8 – Be Dedicated to the Quality of Your Relationship, Not its Longevity.

We all know people who probably should not be together because the energy they create together is toxic to them and/or those around them.

If you concentrate on how to heal yourself, meet your own needs,  and make your relationship healthy, you may either stay together or separate. 

One is not better than the other. 

If you figure out how to be healthy and stay together, your relationship deepens to the next level and you have a greater capacity for trust and intimacy.

If it does not, you may separate, but you will not have the bitter, no holds barred, damaging divorces that seem to happen on a regular basis.

These are caused by needs and expectations.

You may separate with or without sadness, but never malice.

You may actually find that your love relationship with that person still grows. The love doesn’t (have to) go away.

The relationship just changes.

Lesson # 9 – Love Another as Yourself, not Instead Of, or More Than.

A misinterpretation of the ethic of giving has led people to believe they can love themselves only through others.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” means keep the two as equal as possible.

“Love your neighbor and yourself” “would be a better translation to me.

When giving progressively drains you over time, you are not giving from a sustainable place.

Eventually, you give yourself away and then there is nothing left. 

Love considers the well- being of those doing the loving.

Lesson # 10 – Reject the “Complete Me” Model. Think Three, not One.

Don’t try to be one person with your mate.  This leads to a belief of needing another to be whole.

Relationships change and move.

Have you, your mate, and the relationship

Think of a relationship as something you both have to feed with time and energy.

When one person doesn’t want to be in the relationship anymore, then it affect two parts, but it doesn’t take you with it. You let go and you are intact.

Lesson # 11 – Understand the Difference.

Understand the difference between intimacy, connection, infatuation, lust, touch, sex, nurturing and love.

Be clear on what you are trying to experience.

Most people fold these all together in some way.  It’s not that these things can’t go together with love or enhance it, the same way the food in a recipe comes together to make something greater than the whole.

But if you think that milk and eggs are the same and then you keep adding more eggs to a recipe, you are going to come out with something that’s not likely to taste good. In the same way, your relationship will seem like something is missing or you have too much of something. 

Later in this post, I go through definitions of each of these and how to draw distinctions.

And don’t expect your desires to matches your mates.

You are two different people. 

There has to be some overlap obviously, but respect that people have different tastes and so want different proportions in their recipes.

Lesson # 12 – What Makes Us “Feel Loved” Varies.

Lesson #11 doesn’t include every possibility of course.  Feeling loved often boils down to a set of attributes like those listed in lesson #11. 

When you experience them with your lover, you naturally become closer.

We each have our love languages. There is even a book called “The 5 Love Languages”.

Take the time to figure this out and express it to your mate.

Don’t make your mate responsible for figuring it out.