Awhile back, I was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to meet a guy who would eventually rock my world and change my life. I was in college and I was really serious about excelling in my academics. I knew that I had so much potential that I really needed to maximize. And so I decided to pour a lot of my focus and attention into all of my classes. And that’s exactly how things went for the early parts. I was reading a lot. I was always early for class. I always made sure to pay attention and I asked every question I could think of to make sure that I had all bases covered. I didn’t care about how my classmates perceived me.
I knew that I was destined for greatness; and these were things I needed to do to achieve everything I wanted to achieve. And then one day, everything changed. A guy who I had never really noticed in one of my classes sat beside me one morning and chatted things up with me. I was early to class as usual. And so we had some time to burn before the professor would arrive. He told me his name and I told him mine. We started a conversation – and to make a long story short, I fell in love with him.
That was the start of the year-long romantic journey that I had with this guy. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out (as you can probably tell by reading the title of this article). He didn’t love me in the way that I loved him. And as heartbreaking as it was, I choose to look at it as a learning experience. And here are a few lessons that I picked up within that year.
1. Always be honest about how you’re feeling.
Never be coy about your feelings. The more upfront you are about how you feel, the more in sync you and your partner will be. You aren’t going to know how he really feels about you unless you let yourself be vulnerable as well.
2. Keep an eye out for the red flags.
The red flags are there fairly early on – and you need to be able to keep an eye out for them. You need to stay alert and guarded. You need to stay vigilant. You can’t fall in love so recklessly. You want to make sure that you know your realistic chances at love before you let yourself get so deep into it.
3. Don’t waste your time with anyone.
When you know that things just aren’t meant to be, don’t force the issue. Learn to walk away. Learn to be okay with the fact that sometimes, love just doesn’t work out no matter how much you want it to. You are going to have to learn to recognize a lost cause when it’s standing right in front of you. You need to be able to let go of something that just isn’t meant for you. You can’t afford to be wasting time on something that just isn’t meant to be.
4. Always learn to expect the unexpected.
You aren’t going to be able to control every variable. You aren’t always going to be able to get everything to go your way. You have to know that in love, there are just so many things at play and you aren’t always going to get to manipulate everything. And you aren’t always going to be able to prepare for everything that happens to you. Feelings can change. People can change. Circumstances can change. And you’re just going to have to learn to adapt to those changes. You aren’t always going to be able to anticipate everything.
5. As difficult as it may seem, this is something that you are going to be able to get over.
It might feel like it’s the end of the world to have your heart crushed like this; to have your heart ripped out of your chest and incinerated in such a brutal manner. You might think that you no longer have what it takes to carry on and pursue love. You might think that you will never be able to recover; that you will never be able to bring yourself to find the courage to fall in love with someone again. And it’s normal for you to think that. But you have to know that you are wrong.
You are always going to be able to overcome. You might feel bent and broken now; but you’re eventually going to feel okay. You are going to be able to find the strength to fall in love again. You are going to be able to pick yourself back up and pursue the love that is meant for you. And once you do find that love – the perfect love – it’s going to be like nothing and everything you expected it to be at the same time. It’s going to be amazing. And you’re going to laugh as you look back at how weak and vulnerable you feel at this moment.