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Updated: Nov 13, 2023

To love generously and with pure intentions is a virtue.

To have a genuine and open heart is a wonderful gift. When you express love like this to a reciprocative equal, then BOOM - it's a match made in heaven!

For the majority of us though, the journey to this blissful kind of union only takes place after our hearts have been into battle (sometimes multiple times) and experienced the fall out from loving non-reciprocal or incompatible people and in doing so, realising just how different people's perspectives of love can be.

It can be a shocking revelation to experience just how hurtful, manipulative and disrespectful some people can be, all under the guise of love. Some use it as a weapon to dominate and control giving breadcrumbs of affection as a reward for submission. Some use it superficially for an ego boost to flaunt their partner like a trophy. Some have no intention of allowing themselves to be emotionally available and they deny their partner of a deeper connection. Others use love to provide financial stability or even just as a distraction till something better comes along. Sadly many people are not even aware of their behaviour or their hidden motives behind their actions when loving or being loved by another person, until the relationship breaks down and they are forced to reflect on it.

In our faced paced world where everything is instantly replaceable, it seems the need for 'fast love' is also playing a part in the ever changing social norms of society. Dating apps have rapidly moved users away from looking for deep emotional connection to no strings attached hook ups, which for emotionally avoidant types is great but for others looking for intimacy and genuine love, not so great! Superficial types of connections which focus primarily on physical attraction are diminishing the ability to value ourselves in a healthy way that go beyond having a nice face and body. This devaluing of self is having a direct effect on how we emotionally connect with people and allow ourselves to be treated. Celibacy is more often seen as a taboo or religious restriction rather than a valuable conscious choice to allow for deeper connections to develop and unfold.

Some questions to ponder... do you think love and intimacy are being phased out for instant short-lived gratification? Are we normalising pursuing superficial connections because society is becoming increasingly lacking in self-respect and self-worth? Are we avoiding love and intimacy and deeper emotions generally because this makes us feel vulnerable and vulnerability isn't something we recognise as a healthy part of life?

Sometimes it's not that one person's perspective of love was better or worse than the other person's, sometimes it just wasn't compatible for both of you to be happy and fulfilled. So long as both parties are aware of the other persons intentions and limitations from the start, then they can decide if it's for them or not and no hearts need to get broken in the process. But as with all things in life, people change, feelings change, we grow, we learn, our minds evolve and we prioritise different things at different stages of life.

If we're not absolutely clear and confident about our own self worth, our boundaries and what we expect love to look and feel like, we'll find it hard to recognise the right people to attract. If we don't realise that the bad choices made are due to our lack of these core values, it's likely that we'll keep meeting the same types of people or situations repeatedly until we realise what we're doing and learn to break the pattern.

Why do we go through these disappointments? The same reason we go through any of life's difficulties and hardships - to learn, to grow, to heal and move forward with a better understanding of self. When you've come to terms with the previous bad choices that you've made and accepted them as the life lesson that you've needed to learn, you will be able to forgive yourself and be grateful that you've gained better insight into what you expect from others in the future.

As for the saying,"Its better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" (Alfred Tennyson) I think it could do with an update, "It's better to have loved and lost, learned the lesson, healed and moved on, than to never have loved at all" - ok, so it's a bit wordy.

There's no point being angry at yourself for having given your time and love to someone who didn't appreciate it or reciprocate it the way that you'd hoped. Love given with genuine good intention towards another person is never wasted. But, in realising the imbalance of the situation you do owe it to yourself to redirect your love inwards and reestablish boundaries that will help you to make better judgements in future. This simple act of self-love and compassion will also help you to realise your worth, your values and to recognise compatibility with those that share your unique values and qualities.

© Word With Yourself 2023

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