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So you did it. You were an adult. You stopped yourself from making any further mistakes and you learned to let go.

A lesson you learn again and again yet sometimes, when they take a part of you with them, those lessons you must learn again. Forever learning, forever changing, forever evolving.

Lesson: Never settle for a love less than you deserve, less than you want.

It is in these moments that we must stop and evaluate. We must try to understand what God is trying to teach us and we must use His lesson to help us evolve.

I feel free. I feel like all that burden, all those insecurities and all that yearning that had been weighing me down for the past three years has finally been lifted. Moving on doesn’t happen in a day. It’s not like you tell yourself, “Self, move on!” and poof! You’ve as good as new. Moving on is a process. Especially when you have to learn to find your strength again. Especially when you have to put away your fear of loss; fear of setting fire to all the hopes and dreams that you two had conjured together; fear of being alone without a companion when you’ve been used to having someone by your side; and, fear of never finding love again. Love is a complicated emotion.

Lesson: Love never ends. Trust, respect, intimacy, hope may end, but love is forever.

So how do you move on when love is forever? It’s not like the day the relationship ends, you can tell yourself, “Self, love OFF!” Love doesn’t work that way. It’s not a switch that can be turned on and off. Love is built, it is moulded, it forms and transforms but it doesn’t stop. What we must realise is that people don’t fall out of love, they fall out of trust, respect, or intimacy and it is in the ending of one of these that the relationship cannot sustain. Love is paramount but it cannot sustain a relationship alone. A true partnership needs love, friendship, trust, respect, and intimacy. The bond won’t remain the same if you take out a few of the main molecules holding it together.

I still haven’t answered the question, you ask? Well, here it is: It’s okay to love each other and still choose to end the relationship. Love is supposed to be selfless, right? So then if there are real issues keeping the relationship from working, hurting you both, despite the existence of love, wouldn’t you want to stop hurting the one you love. Wouldn’t you want them to happy? Wouldn’t you want yourself to be happy? The correct answer is, yes, I would! Therefore, you let go.

Lesson: You will love more than once in your life. Each love will be different from the one before it and special in its own way.

I had an epiphany yesterday while driving to my best friend’s house. I cranked up the volume in my car and as I cheerfully sang along to the songs, I realised something: I’ve been lucky. I have been blessed with receiving romantic love three times in my life. Each different in its own way and unique and special to me. It is in those periods of love followed by heartbreak that I have found myself and found myself again. It is those three people, who I will always love, that collectively taught me about love and friendship. And I have no doubt that any future love will teach me the next lesson that I have yet to learn.

The first taught me to never give up on something you want. He taught me that love is friendship. He taught me that you can be continents apart and years apart yet love sustains.

The second showed me what love looks like, what it feels like. He may not know it but he taught me the most important of lessons. He taught me how to open up my heart. He showed me how to be open to receive love; and how amazing and fiery and complete love can feel if you just let it. He opened my heart and soul to all love. The love for God, the love for family, the love for friends. The love for the world and all that is pure in it. He helped me realize the love I want and he showed me the kind of love I deserve.

To love is to admire with the heart; to admire is to love with the mind.

– Theophile Gautier

It takes a lot of strength to love so completely, to be so vulnerable to heartbreak, but I promise you, it is worth it. The vulnerability is worth every knowing, caring smile shared from across the room in a crowd; every running hug-hello as if its the first time you’ve seen each other in years even though you just met yesterday; every goodbye kiss that turns into 20 because they’re never enough even though you’ll see each other tomorrow; every wring and turn in your heart the moments you realise you might lose each other followed by the moments when you look into each others eyes and all you see is complete love; and, the complete and utter fulfillment that washes over each intimate moment.

The third gave me the lesson I had forgotten. He reminded me that love isn’t always enough and is never complete without friendship, partnership, companionship, compassion, want, and respect. He reminded me that love without an open heart is only half the beauty. He reminded me of my own capability to love and the levels of that capability. And most importantly, he taught me that just because you love, doesn’t mean a relationship can work. He showed me that letting go does get easier the second time around. He reminded me that love and friendship go hand in hand and without both, the relationship won’t sustain. Love is a prerequisite to a true partnership and it’s not a true partnership without also having friendship, trust, respect, loyalty, intimacy, support, compassion, selflessness.

Lesson: Love openly and you get love in return.

For the longest time, I had closed my eyes to all that I had learnt so far. I chose to put aside important parts of me thinking it would help me move on. It was my mistake. It is in rediscovering those principles again that I find myself again this time.

Respect, love, compassion.

While I had my eyes closed, idealising the object of love became a habit. That habit caused me to forget the lessons I had learnt. I forgot to stop and look back to evolve. I looked back to be back there again but we can never be back there again because there’s nothing left to go back to. I am not the person I was back then. They are not the people they were back then.

Idealising someone is a toxic way to honour the memory. It is in the faults that true beauty lies. It is in the faults that true love lies. Idealisation is what taints the memory. It is in that memory that the true lessons were learnt. To taint it is to forget those important lessons. The lessons taught to you by life, by God, by the people in your life. We must look back and see the whole picture. I fell out of intimacy. He fell out of respect. I fell out of respect. He fell out of trust. The cycle repeats unless we stop and truly learn from our mistakes.

Lesson: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

I idealised for so long that I forgot the true importance of what they taught me. It is today that I let go of those perfect portraits I painted in my mind and I see you all for what you truly were. You each came into my life for a reason. Today, I put down in words those reasons, those lessons so that I will learn. I will evolve and I will improve.

Lesson: Life is about growing, changing, evolving, improving. Happiness isn’t an end goal, it’s a journey. Happiness is a choice.

Finally, I realise that I am happy. The only thing standing between my happiness and me was my choice. I chose to idealise and isolate. Today, I choose to wash away those idealised images from my mind and I remember now what happy feels like. It’s been there all along. I just had my eyes closed.

I regret nothing and am grateful for all that I felt and all that I received in return. I let go of any “what if”s I was holding on to. I am grateful to God and to the people He sent into my life who taught me what I know till now and what I will learn in the future. I am grateful for each and every one of you.

Final lesson

Never give up on what you want. Live with no regrets and no “what if”s. Open up your heart and let yourself experience the true beauty of love in all its glory. Let yourself experience the true beauty of all life has to offer and what you can offer life in return. Love life and it will love you back. Love God and God will love you back. They’re all one and the same thing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptkWYhX79N8&feature=kp]


P.S.: A few lessons on love by others

Teach Me How to Love You… And I Will Teach You How to Love Me by Zaron Burnett III

When Love Isn’t Enough: Three Rules of a Good Breakup by Christine Arylo

Knowing When to Walk Away from Unrequited Love by Kelly Reynolds

Relationships that Hurt: When Enough is Enough by Lori Deschene