Heartbreaking Lessons that Teach You how to Love

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve written on my blog.  I’ve been working hard on my first book, The Midnight Experience, and it’s definitely a major project for me – rewarding, but major.

I’m coming to you today with a post that – contrary to the title – gives me peace and encouragement for what’s possible.  This year has turned out to be rather bittersweet for me, and although I’m dealing with several difficult hardships, I’m also learning a whole lot about myself along the way.

One thing that I’ve come to learn is that there is no special formula to guarantee a successful relationship, although we all still walk the earth as if there is.  Our biggest treasure is to take what we’ve learned and offer it as a nugget of wisdom for someone else.

Having said that, here are four lessons that I recently learned about what it means to love another.  You should know that as I wrote them out, I felt their burdens release from my being and onto the page.  Realizing these four lessons may not fix every issue in a relationship, but they’re definitely a great stop and start: Stopping the negative cycle from the past and starting a positive one for the future.

Your companion can’t meet your deepest needs.  Let’s be honest: no one was put on this earth to meet all your needs, especially your deepest ones.  (Those deep needs are security, acceptance, identity, and purpose.) Placing that responsibility on someone causes burden, guilt, and an emotional toll that is difficult to remove.  For that reason, we must ensure that our deepest needs are being met elsewhere so that our companion can complement us, not compensate for what we’re missing.

Patience hurts, but patience pays off. As someone who always got my way growing up, this is a difficult lesson for me to learn. (I’m still learning it.) Essentially, loving someone else means that you are the most patient person you’ve even been, giving grace when necessary and forgiving without being prompted.  Remember this: Things don’t have to happen on your timing.  That’s selfish.  Patience allows for a clearer perspective and control of your emotions. You’ll always win with patience.

Speaking of selfish…

A selfish person will never get the love they want.  Love is about giving first, not receiving first.  If you give wholeheartedly, you will receive it back, but this truth doesn’t work if you’re operating from a “What’s in it for me?” attitude.  Instead, shift your perspective and create ways to be more giving.  Not only will it feel rewarding that you’re blessing others, it will also reduce the burden of always seeking to gain.  (And believe me, it is a burden that we don’t even realize we have.)

And lastly,

Let go of the image you created in your mind.  We all have an idea of the perfect  person for us, but how much are we buying into the image we conjured up? That person is imaginary. Plain and simple. If we want to see any success in our relationships, we must be willing to let go of our ideas so that God can do His part. Trust me, the person He has for you is far beyond your wildest imagination.

Are there any lessons you learned about how to love? Share your nuggets of wisdom in the comments section.



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Elana Cole is an author, educator, and coach who is passionate about helping others in their personal journeys towards a more beautiful life. She is the author of "The Midnight Experience" and creator of Empowered Narrative, a blog about transforming the way you live and love.

4 thoughts on “Heartbreaking Lessons that Teach You how to Love

  1. Hey Ms. Cole! Love this! Being married for almost 6 years I can say that these nuggets are so true! Especially that one about being patient. Hard for me as well and still working! I’d also agree that knowing who you are in Christ and not looking to your mate for purpose and identity are very key in a relationship. You find yourself working to please them so that they can give you what you want. Often, if not all the time, they can’t satisfy those needs only God can. I love this. This is my first read so I’ll be looking here and sharing more often! -former student

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