L.O.V.E: the four letter word that causes so much happiness and pain all at the same time. Love, a word that describes feelings that are indescribable because the reality of love is more often felt than it is expressed through verbiage. To keep it real with you all, the greatest love I have ever felt was not one that I could put into words until recently when I woke up from the abyss that I was trapped in for years. For years, I was exhausted and detached from my truest self after losing so much of what I knew to be my reality and I underwent countless life transitions–all while being expected to do great things and be a great person for others.

But how could I be great for anybody, if I was not great for and to myself?

The hardest times of my life were the weeks that turned to months, and the months that turned to years of emotional pain, internal struggle, and mental enervation. Excelling professionally, I wore the mask of persisting through personal trials and tribulations as well as I could; keeping it together until I made it to the person I decided I could let it all go to. That was, until he helped me to realize I was not ok at all, in fact, he made me understand that I was drowning. Hurt, frustrated, and so far gone in my thoughts in addition to his observations; I fell deeper into a dark space rather than work hard to get myself to a place where I could see the light that I always knew was there but lost sight of. It was not until we split and the post relationship roller coaster that we experienced came to a complete stop did I realize he gave me the greatest love one could ask for: he led me back to me!

The deepest love and care I have ever felt from another came from a person who cared for me so much that he decided to stand in his truths and could not love the person I became. He knew the person that I once was and he trusted that one day, I would come back to me and see me again; the way he once did and the way I used to. Furthermore, he understood that the way things were at the moment would not assist either of us progress through life’s journey.
After many moments of shedding the tears I never imagined I could, my body experiencing the aches that I never thought it could, and the whirlwinds of emotions and thoughts that I had to breakdown on my own-I found me again . . . there, in the space that I needed but deprived myself of taking until he enforced it. His unconditional care and attention of himself and I led me to the greatest love I had for myself. Our dynamic led me to reflect not only our relationship, but on the relationships and roles of others in my life and my role in their lives. In it all, I regained perspective of my confidence and self-worth and not entirely surprising; love’s truths. Continue reading for 11 truths I have learned about love for those whose hearts are broken from a love lost, those whose hearts are building up to love, and those whose hearts  are bursting with love to give and receive.   

Love’s Truths

Before love can be given and received, self-love needs to be present.

Love is selfishly selfless.

Love may cause pain, but love is not painful.

Love is patient.

Love is compromise, not sacrifice.

Love is not a game, but love is playful.

Love does not limit growth, love invests in growth.

Love is loyal.

Love is trust in faith.

Love is commitment.

Love has different languages.

Read Further For A Detailed Breakdown Of The 11 Love’s Truths I Listed Above:

1. Before love can be given and received, self-love needs to be present. You cannot give love on any level to the person you would like to build with if you do not love yourself and recognize your contributions, qualities, and limitations. You can pretend self-love is present in your life, but if someone is true to themselves and is serious about loving you, they will see through the façade and will call you out on it. Without a clear understanding and execution of self-love, you will not be able to receive the care and love that is given to you and insecurities will creep in and take over your rationale. Constructive feedback you receive from your loved one will be perceived as an attack, your partner’s desire to have a balance between time spent with you and others will be perceived as them not valuing or caring for you, and/or your sense of attachment and happiness will depend on your partner providing you with the happiness you should be providing for yourself.

2. Love is selfishly selfless. To love someone with all of your heart and to expect that they too love you with all of their heart, requires you to accept that both of you are selfish and selfless! You are so selfless with the one you love that you would do anything for him or her, right? But with that selflessness, understand that you are saying they must give you and only you that kind of selfless care as well and you do not want them to be with anyone else. In the name of love, being selfishly selfless should not be negative; rather it is an understanding that the two of you are truly in this space of love together and you both understand that in a room of 1,000 people, you two proudly only see each other. With the right person, it is not a burden to give and receive this selfless and selfish love. If you are giving more than you are receiving consistently, there is not a balanced understanding of the type of love you both share, if it is love at all.

3. Love may cause pain, but love is not painful. It is true that people tend to hurt those they love most, but they do not cause intentional harm. There are arguments and tough decisions that are made in loving relationships. Wires get crossed and tears are shed, but nothing should be irreparable. Not only will a loved one apologize for the pain caused, but you will see them go through great lengths to make sure they do not do anything that can cause you pain again. If you are experiencing deliberate harm that is inflicted by the person you love; understand that they do not love you. Those who love you will not intentionally hurt you! Love is never physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, or any form of manipulation.

4. Love is patient. People evolve at their own paces in life. Experiences that one has encountered before you and you before them have molded the person you love and you to be the person that you are today. That is a beautiful reality. No one pace is like that of another. Additionally, ones pace in life may change based on the current circumstances. It is important that patience is always on the forefront of your mind with your partner and that it is on the forefront of their mind as well. Without patience, there is no way of ensuring that genuine compassion and a desire for mutual understanding is always present in the relationship. In a partnership, with love, the two of you need to be patient. Once the patience dwindles, communication will also be compromised and a relationship without communication is never destined to excel to its fullest potential.

5. Love is compromise, not sacrifice. There are certainly non-negotiables in one’s life that should be shared, respected, honored, and valued in any relationship. However, if a partner is constantly forced and pressured to go against their non-negotiables, it is fair to infer that they are making decisions and choices that constantly go against what they truly feel is best for them. A relationship with love, is one that works to find a balance that truly works for both people involved. Sure, there will be times when a decision is made and one partner may feel they got the short end of the stick. In the name of love and compromise, the partner who got the longer end of the stick should recognize that and be sure to be a bit more flexible in compromising the next time, WITHOUT having to be reminded to do so. When one is always “losing”, compromise has turned to sacrifice and that is not healthy in loving relationships.

6. Love is not a game, but love is playful. We have all been in those complicated relationships and ‘situationships’ because the direction you both are going in is not clear. Better yet, the direction is clear to one of you and the other one is in denial or left in the shadows of the reality. Real love is clear. Manipulation and/or confusion about one’s relationship status are not signs of love; they are signs of a game. Now; playing arcade games, cracking non-hurtful jokes on each other, and making silly faces at each other are all playful gestures. Laughing in your relationship is key and keeps love alive, but there is nothing loving and funny about being played in any relationship.

7. Love does not limit growth; love invests in growth. So, your partner wants to move cross country to do more research on the cure for cancer; maybe they have an idea they think is brilliant and want to start their own business; or maybe, just maybe, you decide that you want to quit your job with benefits for a while to really focus on honing in on other skills that you have neglected for far too long. Yup, moments of panic for you and/or your partner will hit because one of you might have not seen it coming. Transitions can be scary for anyone, even the most prepared person; but in the name of love, don’t let the fear and anxiety of transitions keep you from believing in your partner’s dreams or stunt your growth because of your partner’s fears. As a partnership, you both need to communicate and talk through the proposed ideas and possible decisions that need to be made when both of you will be impacted. If you love your partner and they love you, invest in the dreams of the individuals as that will contribute to the longevity of the partnership! No one likes to feel stunted and prohibited from living their best life. Always have a discussion regarding possibilities, even if it turns out to not be the right time to move forward with the proposed idea.

8. Love is loyal. Loyalty is a must in the reality of love as it is one of the key elements of any relationship’s foundation. Even deeper than the conversation of trust (which is also important), loyalty means you have the back of your partner no matter what. In all that you do, in the name of love, you think about how your decisions are impacting the person you have plans to build with. Additionally, should your partner be in a position to make decisions, you support them. Should you all have disagreements, the world and your inner circles do not need to know all the details. Sure, problem solve with your crew, but again, the focus is always on being loyal in the name of love to each other and building together. No secrets and ill speaking behind the backs of each other.

9. Love is trust in faith. Trust in faith is easier said than done, but it is possible! Whether your faith is spiritually grounded or it is in trusting that everything will happen the way it is meant to happen-one needs trust in love and love means trust in faith. Believing, knowing, and trusting that everything will happen how it should, should take some pressure off your back and that of your partner because there should not be a need to force anything to be what it is not or what it will be. Silence the outside and proceed how you see best in the trust and faith that you do have. Furthermore, when conversations and decisions are in need of your trust in faith to be present; jump in ready-don’t run from it. It is better to have tried than to not have tried at all; especially if you are serious about investing in someone and something real.

10. Love is commitment. When you commit to a person, you commit! That means you will watch your partner go through highs and lows and they will watch you go through them as well-heck you’ll go through the highs and lows together. Real love does not walk away the second challenges are present. In the name of love, your commitment to your partner means that you both are going to do your best to work through challenges and see each other for who the other person really is. Because of your commitment to the one you love and their commitment to you, you will always want them to be the best versions of themselves. Wiping away the tears of your loved one, providing the shoulder for them to lean on, being their number one source of encouragement when they need to believe in themselves and are experiencing doubt, being their vision when they are blind to what they can’t see; and always being honest, even if the truth hurts is commitment. Because you both are truly committed to the other being their best, anything goes.

11. Love has different languages. Humans express and receive love differently. Whether one prefers 1. Words of Affirmation, 2. Quality Time, 3. Receiving Gifts, 4. Acts of Service, or 5. Physical Touch, show your partner the love is there the way they need it. If love is truly present, you need to know the love language(s) of your partner and share your love language with your partner as well. If your love language is not included here, discover what it is and again, share it with your partner. Help your partner out as well. Don’t simply state what your love language is, share examples of what you are looking for with them. If your partner loves you and you love your partner, it will bring you pride and joy to make your partner happy and let them know just how important they are to you.

In your journey of discovering your love of self, developing an interest in your love for your partner, or are trying to keep love alive between you and your partner; remember love’s truths shared here and determine your own truths for the love you have to give and want to receive.

Love is a simple complication. On the surface, love is about understanding and accepting that you will do all it takes for your partner and for yourself to live in love; but the reality is far more nuanced than that when two different people are involved. Ultimately, both partners need to decide they are truly in the journey of love together and are willing to give it their best. One person should not be giving more than another consistently. The level of unconditional care I received in my life, helped me to understand the importance of unconditional self-love in the journey of understanding love’s truth and it is my hope to support you in your journey of understanding the truth of love and what that will look like in your life. Never lose sight of your worth and your contributions to yourself and the one you would like to give your love to. There is no clear rule book to love, but one thing is for sure, when love is present; it is felt.

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