Although given with the very best of intentions, the wise words of family and friends can’t help you more that the love advice you give yourself.
In the immortal words of the song “Love, is a many splendored thing.” Whilst anyone who has been truly and deeply in love would be hard pressed to argue against this simple, although somewhat glib, statement, they would also probably tell you that it is also a very confusing, difficult and evolving thing that takes a lot of awareness and hard work to maintain.
And the truth of the matter is that no matter how much you read on the subject of love, no matter what sage advice you seek from those who are proficient in that particular arena, there are certain lessons that you will only ever learn from experience.
What is love?
A very simple question to ask that has, unfortunately, only very complex, contradictory and confounding answers, which even then could easily be disputed or argued against. All we truly know about love is that it happens. It happens in all kind of environments, between all kinds of different people from different backgrounds, at different times in life and in very differing ways.
And this is why there are some lessons that can only be learned from experience – because no two people or their situations are ever identical.
Love advice only you can give yourself
The following list provides a few examples of exactly what some of those crucial advice and love lessons might be.
#1 Your type. The human mind, spirit, emotions, etc., consist of diverse and multifarious layers within a spectrum stretching from the obvious to the deeply subconscious, the part of us that governs love seemingly existing somewhere in the vicinity of the latter.
And this explains how people often fall in love with those who you would never have thought were their types, those who such people themselves probably never thought of as their types either, until cupid’s arrow struck and they fell head-over-heels in love with them.
The fact is that love operates in a place so deeply hidden within us that we are never truly aware of the influences that persuade it to make its decisions. You might think you have a type, a particular look or personality that you feel is a suitable match, but love will teach you that it has its own selection process of which you can only ever hope to understand. [Read: 9 reasons your ideal partner wish list isn’t working for you]
#2 Love is tough. It is. Forget the romance movies with their rose-tinted glasses approach to the whole question of love as, unfortunately, the world doesn’t operate that way. When you fall in love with someone, you create a dependence that involves a lot of sacrifice and compromise, in order to make it work as well as you want to.
When you’re in love, the lesson a lot of the time is about giving parts of yourself up, so that you can continue to pursue the new found object of your desires. And that is a lot more difficult than a few sentences or passages can even begin to describe. Only experience can teach you that particular lesson.
#3Know thyself. You might think you have a familiar, if not intimate, understanding of your innermost workings, but just wait until you fall deeply in love. Everything you know about yourself will be turned on its head, twisted, opposed and subjected to a torrent of emotional bewilderment.
For a start, you will be subjected to emotions that you have never experienced before, never even knew you had, emotions such as jealousy, dependence, anger, sympathy, empathy, and fear. Your emotional state will be more brittle and vulnerable than you ever could have imagined, and this in turn, will teach you a lesson about yourself that you would not have otherwise experienced. [Read: 19 sure signs you’re starting to fall in love with someone]
#4 The one and only. What’s the one line that you hear in romance movies all the time? “How do I know if it’s true love?” And the answer is nearly always something along the lines of, “If it is, you’ll just know.” And that’s exactly it.
There are no words to explain what being in love really is, and chances are that if you need to ask that question, then you’re not in love. There is no series of tick box questions that you can go through to discern the truth on this particular topic. The only way you’ll know that you’ve met your one and only, the love of your life, is when the experience of being in love tells you so.
#5 Nothing is as important. Well, that may be a little bit of an overstatement, but only just. When you are truly head-over-heels in love, everything else, all those events and happenings that seemed like such a world-shattering importance, suddenly kind of fade away into insignificance.
All you can think about is the object of your affections, and no matter how level-headed a person you are, no matter how practical or down to earth, your confidence in your ability to remain so in the face of any emotion will be sorely put to the test by the experience of being in love.
#6 Love is all you need. More song titles to describe the point, as they do that so well, but when you are truly in love, you don’t need anything else. You find that all your plans for money, career, or any other kind of advancement suddenly seem petty and childish.
All you want out of life is to get to spend it alongside the man or woman who has, in a flash, turned your life upside down. Likewise, big romantic gestures, gifts and pledges seem to have little value anymore. You both find more romance in a flower stem tied as a ring around the finger or a wine stain on a shirt as a reminder of your time together, than in any amount of jewelry or other expensive gifts. Another lesson that only the actual experience of being in love can teach. [Read: Is love real? 10 happy signs that fuzzy feeling is all too real]
#7 A farewell to pride. You can’t be prideful and be in love also, the two just don’t go hand in hand. When you’re in love, all that you care about is the object of your desires. And things that you previously thought of as important in your character and the way people perceive you no longer matter in the slightest.
#8 Expect the unexpected. Love is no observer of convention or time. It doesn’t matter how inconvenient your particular situation is for love or what boundaries there are that you’d prefer to observe. Indeed, love almost seems to get a kick out of putting such boundaries to the test. But get ready for the unexpected. It can happen at any time, in any place, with even the most unexpected of people, no matter how disciplined and controlled you like to think you are. [Read: 10 things that will bring your soulmate closer to you]
#9A change of attitude. Does it annoy you when people talk with their mouths full? Does the way some people breathe when they sleep set your teeth on edge? Do you just hate it when people ask pointless questions?
Well, be prepared to have such dislikes swept aside because – and I’m sure you’ll disagree with me, if true love isn’t an experience you’ve yet had the pleasure of – when your loved one commits any of these minor social crimes, you will suddenly find that your former pet peeves have transformed into the cutest and most adorable mannerisms that you’ve ever had the pleasure to witness.
#10 The best medicine. And true love really is. This final lesson that only the experience of true love can teach is that no matter how bad your day has been, no matter how down or under the weather you feel, just one flash of a smile or a kind word from the one you love, and you’ll feel like you could take on the world again. And that really is a beautiful thing. [Read: 9 ways you and your partner bring out each other’s best]
Although the subject of love is one that has been the focus of poems, books and songs since the first men and women made eyes at each other, there can never ever be a replacement for the love advice you learn from your own experiences.
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David Cullen is frequently described as erudite, insightful and witty – but only by himself and only after several large glasses of Rioja....