How to truly love someone
Love is complicated. Yet still, many of us seek to find the meaning of true love. For the longest time, I myself began to lose belief that true love even existed. There was always a catch and I was never truly happy. The meaning of true love may be different for each of us, but you have to wonder: is there a way to know if what you have is real?
I want to help guide you through what I’ve learned. This question gets asked a lot:
“How do I know she/he is the one?”
That’s a scary question to attempt to answer, but I want to dive into an even deeper question...
“If she/he is the one, how do I love them?”
I won’t claim to be some magical love doctor, but I think I have discovered a real answer to both of those questions. True love is freedom.
“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
Freedom from judgement
We are social creatures, always looking to earn the affection of everyone around us. But too often, we sacrifice our passions in fear of making a fool of ourselves. Even worse, this usually happens at home in the presence of our loved ones.
If you love her, love her passions. If she is passionate about something you don’t understand, learn about it. Don’t scoff or scold. She had these silly passions before you were ever in the picture, and they make her who she is. Love her for them.
It also means you may not understand everything she does.
Freedom from persecution
She will go out with her friends, and other guys are going to like her Instagram posts. She has exes, and she may like to drink and dance. If you think all of that is going to vanish just because she met you, you are sorely mistaken.
Loyalty does not mean she throws her old life away. Let her live her life; but be part of it.
She already has enough self-doubt, she doesn’t need yours on top of it.
Freedom from doubt
Many of us have dreams we think we will never achieve. We want to run a company, we want to write a book, we want to help people… But our doubts usually keep us from trying to reach those dreams.
Real, actual love lifts doubt. Empower each other.
Our dreams should grow when we’re with the ones we love, not shrink. When you’re with the one you love, suddenly all of your aspirations should seem within reach.
So be her #1 fan. She will be yours.
Freedom to make mistakes
We make mistakes and we take risks. These are the things that help us grow. It’s what makes us human.
So when you roll your eyes at a forgotten chore, laugh at their ideas or groan because you could have done it better, you are stealing their freedom to fail.
Yes, we need to pick each other up when we fall, but it goes further than that. She shouldn’t be afraid to fall. Encourage her to take risks and take leaps of faith. Make sure she knows that if she falls, you will be there to catch her at no cost.
Don’t keep a tally of each other’s failures, track each other’s dreams.
Freedom to shine
Empower each other to take on the world. Don’t hold her back from being successful. If she wants to be CEO of her own company instead of a housewife, help her get there.
Too many times I’ve seen men grow uncomfortable when their significant other makes more money than them, is more social than them, has more friends that them or is just better than them at something.
When I see this, I think of Annie Oakley and Frank E. Butler. Frank was the best shot in the west in 1860. He always won and everyone always bet on him. Then a young Annie came along. Everyone laughed when she decided to challenge him. But he accepted the duel.
To everyone’s surprise, she won. In fact, she demolished him. She was better than him in every way. However, when Frank realized he had been bested, he did something unexpected.
He married her. But he didn’t stop there, he supported her. He promoted her skills and loved her dearly. He was her #1 fan, even though she had taken the spotlight from him.
You shouldn’t be fighting for the spot light, you should be casting it.
Freedom to change
This one is always the hardest. Couples fall apart all the time and the first thing I always here is “You’ve changed.”
News flash, they are going to change. As we learn and grow, we adapt to the world around us. Our dreams and passions change. We edit our ideals and beliefs. But let me clear the air.
The person they were when you first fell in love will always be there. We need to give each other permission to change, yet never force it. That last part is important. Allow her to grow and love the person she becomes. Empower her to change into the person she wants to be.
Don’t force them to be the person you want them to be. You’re supposed to be in love with her, not the idea of her.
Freedom is love, and love is freedom. It’s not just giving them permission though, you don’t have that right. It’s about freeing them from the binds they have put on themselves.
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