Look back on the last time you were ‘in love’ and ask yourself, “Was I truly in love or was I in love with the idea of being in love?” For the longest time I was more in love with the idea of being in love than I was with who I was with at the time.
What do I mean? Being ‘in love’ is commonly seen as a rush of feelings: love, passion, desire, longing, and so much more, both emotionally and physically. Being ‘in love’ is also commonly known to be a big step in relationships. Being ‘in love’ is often something that happens after getting to know the person you are emotionally intimate with.
When I was a little girl I loved Disney movies (still do). Disney movies portray this specific kind of romantic tale where there is a beautiful damsel in distress and a charming - often wealthy - man. The charming man is immediately enthralled by the damsel, saves her, and they live happily ever after. The issue is that these aren’t real life relationships; they are fairy tales.
As young children, we are exposed to two different kinds of relationships: 1) the ones we see in our real lives: our parents, friends’ parents, and strangers in the grocery store; and 2) the ones we see in the movies, tv shows, and books we are exposed to: princesses, princes, and fairy tales. These two exposures on relationships are generally nothing alike. Real life relationships take work.
HOW DO YOU LOVE THE PERSON AND NOT THE IDEA?
1. LOVE YOURSELF
The first step to letting go of your idealized version of being in love and experiencing the real thing is to love yourself. It sounds simple, but for a lot of us it is a long and hard process which starts with forgiveness. Love yourself for everything that you are and are not. Self-doubt is a sign of lack of self-love. Be your number one cheerleader and love yourself.
2. LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS
The second step to letting go of your idealized version is to accept that everyone has flaws. We all have expectations. Our expectations of what a relationship looks like, of what people are supposed to say and do, and what is going to happen are what cause all of our issues in relationships.
3. LET YOUR WALLS DOWN
How can you ever expect anyone to love you if you won’t let them get to know you? If you don’t let anyone in, how will anyone ever let you in? We wall ourselves off due to past hurts. Forgiveness is the key to love in life, forgiveness for yourself and for everyone else, for your past and your future.
Remember, “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain.” - Vivian Greene
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