Experiencing Love and Realizing What it Means

Published on 5 October 2023 at 12:00

As young women, do we really realize what love means to us?

Experiencing love happens for most of us at a very young age, it might not always be the ultimate version of love, but we either give or receive it. But learning the true meaning of love for the very first time happens later in life, mostly around the age of 23. Around that age you have experienced one or multiple heartbreaks, but the ones that actually teach us about love are the grownup relationships. The relationships where you have been incorporated into each others lives. Those heartbreaks are the ones where for the first few weeks, you have to get used to life without them.

There is a reason why romantic love feels so much more intens than any other relationship, you share souls and bodies for periods in time. These acts of intimacy intensify the love between two people and thus being more hurtful when they end. Not meaning that the breaking of other relationships does not hurt, but they hurt in different ways.

The first time I experienced this type of love was at a young age, the age of 14. I had my very first boyfriend and everything was so mystical and pure, I wasn’t even sexually active yet. But he was my first boyfriend, the first to meet my family, the first to spend the holidays with and the first to actually share his feelings with me. Q. This heartbreak came out of nowhere and was for my own good. He told me that I was too good for him and that I deserved so much more. Little did I know, I would find out at 18.

Then at 21 I experienced all the things that came with a committed relationship, the love making, the arguments, the key to the apartment, going on dates and being domesticated. R. He thought me about solving our problems, about figuring shit out on my own and about truly listening to my gut feeling. With him I learned about my sexual well being, what commitment and loyalty truly meant and how to stick up for myself.

A little more than 2 months after that break-up, I met the one that I thought was going to be the love of my life. A whirlwind romance of exactly 2 months. H. With him I learned what true love is supposed to look and feel like. He was committed to making my life better and adding value to my already existing life. He showed me unconditional love, how to be happy again and how much I value certain things in a relationship, things I never realized that bothered me. He showed me respect in multiple ways, love, attention, affection and pride. But even he wasn’t my person.

I realized that the 3 of these men and our relationships have thought me so much about love, but mostly self love. It was never about them and whether or not they belonged in my life, it was about me becoming who I needed to be. The person I became before I become a career woman, a wife, a mom and so much more. It was about becoming ME, truly me. About the woman I’ve always wanted to become, ever since I was a little girl and was inspired by my own mother and sister. But these experiences contributed me becoming a better version of that.

So now, just 3 weeks away from my 23rd birthday, I realize that love is everything. But most importantly, love is the one thing you deserve to give yourself more than anyone else. Because self love allows you to make those difficult decisions even though they might hurt, even when if feels like you’re losing more than you’re gaining. It allows you to keep choosing you, with all distractions in sight.

I realized that love means taking your sweet time and enjoying life, living in the moment. Love means not backing down from your standards and even when you do, enjoying the moment to the fullest. Love means always choosing you, even if it feels like betraying others. The loyalty you have for yourselves is more important than your loyalty for others, because you will always make decisions it the best interest for yourself. That is most important.

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