What I Have Learned About Love So Far . . .
Monday December 17, 2012

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“If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.”  -Anonymous

This past weekend was a rare opportunity to be free from nearly all obligations and just putz around the house (view my Instagram pictures that tell the tale). And as I rarely have such weekends, I reveled in it (just as much as I adore my weekends away).

Needless to say, I took some time to contemplate love. Not only romantic love, but doing what one loves and immersing oneself in such pursuits. With a lovely early morning conversation on Friday with a dear friend, our conversation sparked the notion that life is about doing what one loves and not chasing it. And that in essence is what draws to you opportunities that are worth pursuing – whether in one’s professional or personal life.

While I know TSLL readers are a menagerie of all ages ranging from 14-70, I can only speak from the experience I have gained in my nearly 34 years, but what I do know and have learned I would like to share with you today as I noticed that last Wednesday’s Why Not . . . ? post provoked conversation from both my single and spoken for readers. After all, it’s the holidays and love tends to be everywhere whether we are comfortable with it or not, whether it is genuine or contrived (media).

1. Spend your life doing what you love. My twenties involved far too much time trying to be someone who someone else would want to be in a relationship with. Why? Because that’s all I knew. I wish I would have had female mentors to reveal to me that being single and on your own is an amazing adventure not to be rushed through. So instead of looking up to someone, I decided to become the someone I needed in my life. And while it may have taken me longer to learn this most valuable lesson, at least I finally learned it. Instead of living to be the perfect partner, use this time (no matter what your age), to get to know who you are, develop your talents and take advantage of opportunities that you wish to attain. Doing so will attract the people you wish to meet. I can’t tell you when, and I can’t tell you how, but it will occur.

2. Just because a potential partner or employer wants you, doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Learning this life lesson is very empowering. And the best way to know when you should say yes and when you should say no is to be clear about exactly what you want, know what you deserve and don’t allow yourself to be under-minded or manipulated. Let me explain. At a particular teaching job, I was given a particular teaching assignment, the one that I was trained for and had applied for, but one day they called me into the office to shift me to another position (in another field that I was accredited to teach, but another candidate was not) so that they could hire someone else. I took a risk at the time, but said no because I knew what my strengths were, and I knew what I was most passionate about and thus would excel at in the classroom. It wasn’t easy, but it paid off. And I learned that we need to trust ourselves, and then stand up for ourselves when a situation arises where it’s warranted.

3. Make sure you love the reality, not the dream. In other words, in your work, make sure you are in a field (or pursuing a field) that involves what you love and find a purpose in. The same can be said for a relationship. Make sure you are in love with the actual person, not the image that you two present to the outside world. So long as the passion for the career or person is authentic, it doesn’t matter what the outside world thinks because you will be reassured that you made the right decision for yourself each time you go to work or snuggle in for the evening.

4. Take the time to get to know what it all entails. Whether in your career or in a partner, everything about either one can’t be learned in a brief introduction. Regarding the career you have your eyes set on, do your research, intern, investigate, work part-time before leaving your current job to chase your new one. And when it comes to relationships, have patience to wait until the rose-colored glasses have faded and their guard is down so you can truly see who they are, and they can see who you really are as well. There will be people you will meet who upon seeing the authentic you won’t understand you.  Let them go. Be kind, but let them go. There is nothing wrong with you or them, but the people who truly love you are the people who know who you really are and “get it” and love you even more. Be willing to wait for these people to come into your life. They are out there.

5. Sex is not love. Come to understand and know what the hormone oxytocin is. Don’t get me wrong, I am not preaching against sex (there is a right time and place for it based on your values), but when it comes to allowing it to be the determining factor in whether or not someone loves you and you them, consider yourself warned. The dance that hormones and chemistry orchestrate are not for the faint of heart. Understand the difference.

6. Good things take time. If he falls head over heels in love with you in mere days, you might want to reconsider. While we both know that you are deserving of someone loving you, how is it possible that the love he expresses is genuine when he doesn’t know you? On the flipside, be patient getting to know someone who initially may not be what you had expected. Similarly, when starting out at a new job, you usually are placed at the bottom of the hierarchy, and it takes time to reap the benefits that are gained with hard work in which you prove yourself to your boss. In other words, take the time to put in the effort and see if they want to put in the effort to get to know you as well.

I have no doubt that lessons about love will continue in my life, but these six things I now know for sure. As far as why I shared them with you today, I hope it has provided more comfort, a bit of insight and confidence that you are going about seeking the love you deserve in the right way, more so than you may have thought.

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12 thoughts on “What I Have Learned About Love So Far . . .

  1. Hi Shannon,

    Your posts are all lovely and really inspiring.
    You must be a fantastic person and I’m sure people love
    being around you.


  2. This is beautiful. I’ve always think that there is more to relationship; it’s also a partnership/business. As much as we put so much effort in our careers, such effort can be directed in making our relationship last.

  3. That being said, I too know the difference of real love and oxytocin. Takes a learned woman to know the difference. Some people is less fortunate and learned it the hard way. But such is love and losing. You make the best of it and move on. I’ve subscribe to your site. I am in love with how your promote self awareness (without the oxytocin! Could this be true love?). I kid, I kid. 🙂

  4. Mentor not just to twenty-somethings…even the thirty-somethings and older need sometimes a reminder. Wonderful post, I so needed this, your timing couldn’t have been better! Have a wonderful day!

  5. I always have the impression that the post of the day is EXACTLY what I needed to hear and this one is no exception – great timing again. Thank you, Oh wise one 🙂 – you know how sometimes you wish you knew a person in ”real life” ? – I feel the same about you…and no, I’m not a stalker…maybe one day…Montréal is a beautiful city !

  6. I’m totally with you on the idea of becoming your own role model. I’m similar in that regard. I grew up with a stay-at-home mom who didn’t get a university education. She is a wonderful person and has taught me SO much, and I wouldn’t trade that. However, I haven’t had that sort of female role that you speak about in my life either. While it was expected that we would go to university, I grew up with the idea that getting married and having kids was the ideal life. None of my mom’s friends were had a career or life outside the home either and I barely had contact with relatives. That life hasn’t happened for me that way though – I’m 28 and still single. But I’m unbelievably glad that I’ve been working at my career for the last 5 and a half years and done all of the independent things I have. Those life lessons are invaluable. In this sense, I have become my own role model. Of course I am not putting down those who have made a life in the home as I think that takes a huge amount of work and dedication. But at the same time, I’m SO glad that I’ve had a chance to become my own person and chase after my own dreams that are simply my own. The older I got, the more I wish I had had that to look up to in my young life, but rest assured it is definitely something I want to pass onto my kids one day.

    I’ve also certainly learned what simply oxytocin or “lust” is, I’ve definitely learned all the hard lessons around that. I haven’t had a chance to experience true love yet (obviously). But I’m hopeful it will eventually include itself in my life.

  7. P.S. I have learned so many things about love from NOT yet having found the love of my life. Most recently – I can really identify that not everyone will like/love you for who you are and the best thing you can do is move on from that. I spent a couple years hoping a certain group of people would want to be better friends with me and it just didn’t happen. When a certain incident happened this fall, I chose to walk away for good, and since then another opportunity has come along. It is completely true that sometimes you just cannot see where the new opportunity will come from, but if you are willing to let go of that which is not great for you, it opens the door for something new.

    The other big thing I’ve come to terms with in the past year is to quit planning my life around when the love of my life will come into my life. I used to say things like, “I hope this is the last solo trip I go on” or “I’m not planning to move yet because I could have a boyfriend next year” etc. Of course I always WISH for him to come around, but I’ve let go of the idea that my life on my own somehow doesn’t measure up to my life with him. I do think I’ll feel a great deal of happiness when I do get to eventually spend time with him, but now I just go about planning my way and don’t think about whether or not he will be around. Instead of dreading another single new year’s, or feeling some sense of drudgery that I have to go on another vacation without the company I really want, I’ve decided to forget about when he is coming into my life and just plan for it for myself, period. It lets go of the expectations and allows events that are supposed to be happy ones truly just be happy without the idea of “single” or “couple” and which is better. So for example, this past summer I went to Europe for the first time (and solo) but I had been waiting several years for this because I guess I wanted to go with a guy. And probably at the time I wondered, “maybe next year I won’t be going alone”. It’s only December and next summer is far away yet still, but I am already planning in my head what I’m going to go explore next for myself, assuming I’ll be on my own (I figure, when the guy does come into my life one day, THEN I’ll re-adjust my plans! But until then…). It’s helped turn things like travel into something special rather than something I look to with underlying resentment. I’ve felt as though this has finally allowed me to feel more freedom about living my life as a single.

    That all being said….I still struggle immensely with the idea of “when” he will come into my life, and the wondering, and all the envy of other people, why they get to spend all these fabulous days together and I don’t. Yep, I’m sooooo not perfect at all this in many ways!!

  8. Love this post! I could agree more with what one post states above:
    I always have the impression that the post of the day is EXACTLY what I needed to hear and this one is no exception – great timing again. Thank you, Oh wise one 🙂 –
    I feel this way too! Your posts are very inspiring!
    Thank you!

  9. I wish I had someone tell me number 5 and 6 I would have done things so differently but not that I hate men but men say that they love you soon and are always trying to get sex so its hard to not believe I love you or not give into sex especially if you are lonely and you just want to be wanted.

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