“Unrequited love left me with scars…”
I once saw a question posted online, “If you had to use a movie title to describe your love life, what would it be?” And though I’m a bookworm, I’ve seen a number of movies in my lifetime, so I’m pretty sure there were more than enough options from which to choose. At the time, however, I was ashamed to give an answer. Fast forward to present and I can now shamelessly admit that for quite a long while my movie title would have been “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
Have you seen that movie? If not, then grab some popcorn after you’ve finished reading and thank me later.
Now, this may come as a surprise to many as I’ve often been asked, “Why are you single?” But, let me tell you, before I was this bombshell (kidding lol) I was just another Gigi Phillips.
And though I have had to endure the joys of being friend-zoned; became the undefeated champion of third-wheeling and suffer through countless inquisitions about my relationship status at family events, unrequited love has also taught me many, many lessons.
Here’s Six lessons unrequited love taught me:
- Just because you love someone doesn’t mean they will love you back.
Ouch. Now, this is a hard one to swallow but I figured it best to start here, because it is the most common confusion we face.
Often times we love in the form of payment. And no I don’t mean we give others money to show love. What I mean is, we love people with expectancy. We use our love as payment as though our relationships are stores. We purchase an item in the form of our affection while automatically assuming and expecting to receive that same gift of love in return. Our logic: I give you money love, I deserve your item love back .
The reality is, neither life nor love works this way.
In fact, just because we love someone doesn’t mean that they even deserve our love in the first place – so be careful what you wish for.
A lot times, we find ourselves in situations where we receive the love we think we want then realize a little too late that we actually deserve so much more.
It was only when I came to understand that not everyone’s version of love will be worth mine, that the lesson was learnt. My advice to you is, bargain wisely!
- You cannot expect someone to love you into your best self… (if you DON’T first love yourself)
Because leaning into Self-love is just as important as standing in it without someone significant. And by this I mean, so many of us are of the misleading opinion that when we find that “someone special” we’ll magically become who we’re meant to be.
We often call this person our “better half”, as though we’ve existed with only one bad foot, one bad hand, and one half-working side of lung until we met them.
For me, and hopefully you can begin to think this way too, I don’t desire a better anyone. I’m not looking for someone to complete me. Rather, I pray to find someone who accepts me completely. I no longer desire ‘the one’ who would move mountains for me. Instead, I hope to be with someone I can forever depend on to climb every mountain that we may face in life together.
Or as Dr. Ne-Yo so philosophically put it…
I’m a movement by myself
But I’m a force when we’re together
Mami, I’m good all by myself
When you seek self-love first, you will no longer yearn for a better version of you in someone else’s reflection (that can never truly reflect the best you). Instead, you’ll begin to see yourself for the incredible person you are and could be.
Through self-love, I’ve learnt to trust myself and to only place my happiness in the hands of those who are committed to cherish it.
How do I discern these people?
By first placing my happiness in my own hands. I stopped expecting people to be who I wanted them to be; and more than just that, I stopped expecting them to make me better (especially when most of them still have work to do on themselves).
In all of my years of loving, when I decided to love me first, there was no heartbreak. There was no self-inflicted pain. No unrequited love. There was just a girl who became one hell of a woman. And the same can happen for you.
- Your rejection is often God’s protection
**cues Beyonce -Best thing I never had**
While chatting with a friend a few days ago, he mentioned to me that he saw a guy that was once interested in me. However, this guy had gone down a really bad road. He then said, “imagine that could have been your husband now girl?!” And it hit me like WOW.
This person had turned into a completely different person than the one we knew when we first met and definitely not the person whom I imagined he would be all these years later.
And at that moment I had to pause and whisper, “whew! Thank you God that didn’t work out.”
It’s also a fresh lesson in my head, and one that I keep learning over and over again so I just had to mention it, because I’ve got a gut feeling, it’s a lesson you may need to take heed of too.
You see, more times than we may want to admit, we face rejection. It’s part of life. Things don’t always go as planned. Things don’t always work out in our favor. Things end unexpectedly, despite us wanting or trying for it to work out then we cry and ask God why?
Let’s be real, how many of us have gone through break-ups – whether in relationships, friendships, careers, etc. – that we thought were the perfect fit for us and would last forever? You may even be going through one right now.
Yes, raise your hand too boo.
Well, from experience, every single situation that has not worked out in my favor was done for my good. It was necessary. I may not have wanted to accept that painful fact as soon as it happened, but this form of unrequited love taught me that a lot of times in life God often wrecks a thing before that thing wrecks me.
And when I learnt to accept this form of rejection, for my own good, my life became that much better.
So, whatever it is you may be facing at the moment, seek God and trust that some of the things that are falling apart or no longer seem to be working out are necessary because only God sees the danger it may try to cause in your future. This is His way of handling it now. Especially the ones that are truly painful, these are ones that He’s got to get rid of fast.
Remember, love is blind, so we may not be able to see it but God knows best, and He sees our finish line before we even begin. You may not want to believe it either, but this breakup (and your last one too) was necessary, because God wants to take you to new levels that not every person in your life is worth going with you.
Trust me, some of these people and situations are just bullets, and as my wise grandmother always said, “protection is better than cure.” So, stop saying, “Why God” and start shouting “thank you God!” because this rejection is just really protection for better.
- Do not allow heartbreak to stop you from loving.
I’ll admit that experiences in life made me bitter. I grew up cheerful, enthusiastic and full of imagination and wonder. I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt (naïve much?) and I imagined a world full of love, miracles and unicorns. But then reality hits, and you realize that some people’s mission in life isn’t to protect your heart but to run after it, break it then pick up the pieces and try to play with them all over again. [Too dramatic? Sorry lol] But you get the idea.
We’ve all been hurt. Whether by our lovers, fathers, trusted friends or relatives. And at times, we become so broken that we no longer remember how to be good to others. But this is one of the worst things that we can allow to happen to us.
Most times the people that hurt us only do so because they too have been hurt. Yes, it’s true, “hurt people, hurt people”. And though I hate clichés, it is a proven fact and a vicious cycle that I do not wish for you to get swapped into. Because, when you do it’s really, really hard to get out.
So today our mission is to break that cycle!
But Kay you don’t know what I’ve been through.
You don’t know how much I’ve been hurt.
I can’t trust people.
I can’t open my heart again.
Blah, Blah, Blah…
Do you want me to be honest?
It really doesn’t matter what you’ve been through. Even Jesus knew about rejection His entire time on earth, yet it did not change how He loved. And it shouldn’t stop you either.
I’ve been there before. Each time I found pain, I stopped watering the seeds that flourished my ability to love. But, I’ve come to recognize and appreciate that pain and disappointment are as much a necessary part of life as the air we breathe. And if I continued allowing other people’s mistakes/pain/hurt to stop me from loving then I was just as bad as them. So who wins here? No one.
The lesson in this form of unrequited love is this: Do not allow heartbreak to stop you from loving.
There’s a reason why love is the first AND second AND greatest commandment written.
God (love embodied) wants love for us all. Love is a blessing. And so we should not allow mistakes to prevent us from receiving our blessings.
And maybe it feels as though you keep failing in this area over and over again. Please know that life will keep bringing you the same test over and over until you pass it. So, don’t you think it’s time you try a different perspective?
My advice is: Love no matter how many times you’ve been hurt. It will only benefit you in the long run.
- Those who don’t love you will tell you. Those who love you will show you.
Hurt people may come up with all sorts of excuses as to why they caused you pain or rather why they can’t commit – all excuses to defend their unrequited love – but the bottom line is, both men and women that are scared to love only mean one thing, they haven’t yet developed the skills to love themselves fully. And to you I say, stay away from these types of people.
When they tell you…
“I just don’t see myself getting into anything serious right now.”
“I’m not the relationship/marrying type.”
Don’t try to turn them into that type… just run.
“I don’t tell anyone I love them.”
Run faster than you have ever ran before.
So many times people tell us up front who they think they are, and yet we ignore them; try to change them ourselves; then get hurt and wonder why it didn’t work out? Helllllo…I know you’ve shared a few good moments, but did you forget what He said on date #1. He/She wasn’t lying NOR were they asking for your help to turn them into someone else. Stop treating people like your next DIY Pinterest Project.
A lot of times this ‘hurt’ we carry around or vent to everyone about is often self-inflicted because we convince ourselves that we can make that person better; that we can “change them”.
We fall so deep in love with the potential of who we think this person can become that we lose sight of who we are and who they clearly told us they weren’t.
And this lesson is often the hardest to learn, because there’s no one else to blame for this form of unrequited love but ourselves.
I felt it necessary to list this lesson because it’s one that definitely calls for a reality check.
So, how about you take a moment to pause after you’ve finished reading and sharing this post (see what I did there?) and have a serious talk with yourself.
Ask yourself, “Am I really receiving the love I deserve through their actions?” And more importantly, “Are these actions matching their words?”
Because don’t get me wrong, you can fall into a trap thinking someone loves you because they’re treating you like a king or queen, then still turn around and tell you “you ain’t my girl/guy.” So, the key here is to make sure that their actions mirror their words.
And remember, when you’re answering your own questions, you aren’t fooling anyone but yourself.
- Love is always right on time.
I used to be one of those people who created timelines. I am a list-extraordinaire. I have a plan for my plans. I always thought that I’d be married by age 25 and have kids by 30. Then life happens, and I, like millions of others have to come to understand that some things are incapable of going according to schedule.
Elementary school went from age 5 to 11 and my biggest rite of passage then was long division. Secondary school ended at age 18. I spent my early 20s at university (as planned) and I entered the world of work and received my first real pay cheque at a tender 23. But love, love is something we can’t put a number against. Yet, we ALL try to do it ALL the time.
No matter how old/young you are right now, whether you’re in a relationship or not, there came a point in your life when you started to believe that THIS was the time you should be in one.
Who brainwashed us into this form of silly thinking?
Who says that now is the right time for any one particular thing?
Let’s think about it for a minute. If we’re all different; we look different; we are different ages; we have different point of views, and experience different cultures and circumstances on a daily basis then how can ONE SPECIFIC TIME SLOT be the perfect time for ALL of us?!
Makes no sense to me either.
What I do know is, God is the creator of time, and of relationships too, yet there’s no evidence I’ve ever read where He says, “Thou shall fall in love at X yrs”. Have you?
So why we do we stress ourselves into this form of thinking?
This is my final lesson, because I believe it to be the most important one (to me at least) because it’s the biggest misconception we all fall victim to.
But, if we simply drop the notion that we’re missing out because everyone else is in love or that we’re too old (which is not even a thing, for the record!) to fall in love, then I guarantee you, life will be that much less stressful.
It’s as though we were never truly given the opportunity to gain formal education of love, so we take what we learn on the streets. Love is a word that comes and goes, but few people really know what it means to love. Truth is, few of us are ever taught the subject of love. So we take what we get along the way (often unrequited) and we reciprocate it, because it’s all we know.
On the other hand, for some of us, the number we place against love isn’t our age, but the amount of failed attempts we’ve experienced.
So what if every single ‘relationship’ you’ve been in since age 7 has failed?! That does not mean that you’re undeserving of love. What this simply means is, your time is yet to come.
So, instead of giving up, you need to stay ready. Stay ready in order to be in position to receive your blessing. Because remember love is always right on time.
I recently read, “Loving another, be it platonic or romantic takes practice. It takes shifting and adjusting, failing and trying again. We are all flawed, but we are also deserving of true and unyielding love.” And with this, I want you to go out there and love out loud. Remember these lessons; begin to love again even with the scars; but never forget the best place to start is with self.
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