I’d planned to use tonight to write about how angry, sad and disappointed in love I was. Instead, I’ll write about some lessons that I’ve learned over the last few months from love. Particularly lessons that stem from an unequivocally depressing Valentines Day, 2016.

A woman I recently stopped seeing- someone I grew incredibly close to over nine months, showed up on a dating app. Her profile, filled with recent photos, came across a friends account. He was at my apartment and showed me in jest. I faced a flurry of emotions leading me to a late night run, landing me on my back in the middle of an empty football field setting me to gaze up at the cloudy sky.

As drizzles hit my face, I looked for stars. I look up when I’m lost or alone. I seek home in the stars, but Sunday night there were only rumbling clouds many rolling over themselves. I was alone. To search for peace within myself.

So I did.

The experience guided me through ten thoughts. I hope these will give the reader value in their dealings with love, people and life. At the least, I’ll share it with my nieces some day.

  1. It’s okay to be angry. I write a lot about peace, resilience and gratitude. I even personify a lion to share stoicism. As stoic as the lion may be, it feels rage too. Recognize that anger. Take stock of why. And learn your lesson. Anger is passion. Never be afraid to feel passionately.
  2. Value Actions>Words. Political campaigns are all about promises, but how many actions come from those promises. Spend your time focused on what people do instead of what they say they’re going to do.
  3. Don’t live your label. The world will tell you that you’ve got to act a certain way. Do a certain thing. Don’t worry about that. Just do you. Do what feels right. Boy’s aren’t evil and girls aren’t angels. People are people. We’ll always respond differently in different times/situations.
  4. Recognize double standards. If you’re going to get mad at someone for doing something they should be able to get mad at you for doing the same thing too. Live by the same rules. Love by the same rules.
  5. Recognize your own selfishness. Getting upset when someone moves to new things is very clearly selfish. This isn’t the library. You can’t reserve people like you reserve books. If you’re going to check-out someone’s heart–intend on keeping it and take great care. This goes for taking space too.. GTFO with that. This ain’t a library.
  6. Do what you need to do to be okay. I spent a lot of time beating myself up of late. After a ridiculously vitriolic and irresponsible text, I shut things down and decided the time we spent apart needed to be more significant. I felt horrible for leaving my friend alone. I felt like I was being a bad guy. I’m not. Life is going to present incredibly difficult situations and you don’t always have to navigate, lead or set the example. Sometimes you can drop the ball. Sometimes you can throw your hands and say IDGAF, anymore. You’re never too far in to stop- anything. I’ll never say I’m a nice guy. I just take responsibility for things. Today, I’m responsible for myself. That’s all.
  7. Everyone’s trying to do what they think is right. Don’t judge the sin. Look at the person and love them as they are. And in that time, know what you expect from people and hold them to that standard. Sometimes they won’t live up. And that’s okay. Not everyone is meant for you. Even Jesus and Gandhi weren’t for everyone. Are you better than Jesus and Gandhi Ji?
  8. Like you, everyone else is just trying to be happy. Life’s short. Instead you go be happy too. Find things that make you happy. Do them. Don’t spend your time thinking about why other people do what they do.
  9. Love yourself more. Sometimes we’re in love with the idea of being with someone. Being alone is scary. Consider being alone and loving it. I love every minute of it.
  10. Dive into your emotions. Don’t run from them. If you feel something-dive into the depths of feeling it. Experience all that it has to offer. The deeper we understand each of our experiences the more we can appreciate others.

I was angry. I may still be. I realize this is selfish. I recognize that I am human. My anger comes from pain. My spirit, like the lion, is large and as Walt Whitman says, for I am large I contain multitudes. You, the reader, are large too.

You amass incredible capabilities. Recognize those. But also recognize that without darkness there is no light. You can not understand the depth of happiness without understanding the pit of sadness and anger. RUN into your emotions, engage them and understand them. You may spend your youth filling the void with meaningless people and things, but your emotions will outlast your recklessness. Hopefully you confront it before you are influencing others. Pay attention to what’s inside of you; emotions. Recognize what they have to teach you.

Take a moment. Take stock. Remember that you’re only human. And they are too.

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