7 Lessons We Can Learn From Our Unrequited Love

It’s rare for any of us to go through our entire lives without experiencing that feeling of loving another, but not being loved back.

But what might we learn from these bouts of unrequited love; these times of pain and longing?

Well, these 7 things for starters…

1. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

Yep, as much as you might wish for something or strive to make it happen, not everything can become a reality. You may have long thought about it, even fantasized that it might one day come true, but love, like so many other things in life, is not guaranteed.

You have to accept that things will sometimes not turn out the way you hoped. It’s important that you don’t see this as a defeat, but as something that just wasn’t meant to be. If you can maintain a positive attitude even when your heart is breaking, it will hasten your emotional healing.

There is a positive note to not getting what you want – whether it is a love that remains forever unreciprocated, or missing out on your dream job or house, you learn to be grateful for those things that do go your way.

Think about it: if you were blessed to have your every wish come true, you would soon lose any appreciation for these positive outcomes. You would just take them for granted and become unable to enjoy them to their fullest. Your successes will taste that bit sweeter after you’ve experienced disappointment.

2. You Can’t Make Someone Love You

No matter what you do or say, true love is not something you can force. It may grow if the conditions are right, but it has to happen organically, naturally, and in both parties.

You may try to plant some seeds – with kind gestures or flirtatious language – but they won’t always take root. There’s nothing you can do to make the other person have the kind of feelings you want them to have.

The same goes outside of romantic relationships, too. How someone feels about you – whether they like, respect, or value you is as much to do with them and their mind as it is to do with you. No matter what you do, some people will never quite “get” you or see you as their friend or even as their equal.

The lesson: don’t waste your time chasing the “wrong” people when you could be spending it with the “right” people.

Which leads nicely on to…

3. Know When To Call It Quits   

Your love for another is unrequited, but how long should you wait to see if this changes? Well, not too long is the honest answer.

Time is precious and you can’t be certain how much of it you have, so when it becomes clear that your love for this other person is unlikely ever to be reciprocated, you are better off calling it quits sooner rather than later.

As much as you may hold out hope that they may one day change their mind, the truth is they probably won’t. Consider, instead, that by holding on to your feelings, you may inadvertently overlook the real potential that lay elsewhere. There are other people and there will be other loves, and by moving on with your life, you give these a chance they would not have otherwise had.

The same might be said for many things in life: knowing when to cut your losses is an important skill to practice. Often, the very act of accepting an outcome you didn’t want is merged with the opening of a new door through which other opportunities await.

4. Always Be Yourself

It can be very tempting, when someone isn’t returning your love, to change yourself in the hopes that this somehow persuades them. You alter your looks, your attitude, your behavior, or something else in the belief that they will suddenly feel differently about you.

You try to become who you think they want you to be by putting on a mask and acting out a role. As clever as this may sound, it is a tactic that is doomed to fail.

Love is lots of things, but one of the most important is the acceptance by another human being of you as you are. Only through this can you feel secure and comfortable in a relationship. Try to hide your true self and you’ll experience feelings of resentment, anxiety, and discontent.

The same goes for life in general; if you are afraid to let people see your true colors, you will live a life fearing that one day all those relationships you’ve built on the back of your lies will come tumbling down.

The happiest people and most meaningful relationships depend on honesty and acceptance of yourself and others. No fakery, no deception, just openness and a mutual celebration of each other’s souls.

So drop the mask and let the world see who you truly are. Embrace your vulnerability and watch as genuine relationships blossom.

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5. Communicate Your Feelings

Unrequited love is quite often unspoken love, too. You might have these intense feelings for someone and yet be unable to tell them. You suffer from a distance, watching on as they go about their lives, see other people, or just drift beyond your reach over time.

Sound familiar?

We all know why you do it, don’t we? You’re afraid of the finality and irrevocability that declaring your feelings would lead to. Right now you can hold on to the hope that you may one day, possibly, end up in a loving relationship with this person. If you actually communicate your feelings and find out for certain that they are not reciprocated, you can’t turn back the clock. You will know, for sure, that your love is one-sided.

And that would hurt.

Yet, knowing where you stand is the pivotal step you need to take if you are to be able to move on as we discussed above. Assuming they do not feel as you do, you will at least receive closure. Only then can the healing process begin.

Communication shouldn’t stop at declarations of love, however. All areas of your life can, and generally will, see improvement when you talk to people, speak your mind, and express your opinions. So don’t be afraid to show your hand and open up about what it is you are feeling or what you want – people aren’t mind readers after all.

6. Respect Yourself

If someone doesn’t love you in the same way you love them, it can be easy to blame yourself. Suddenly you see faults where you saw none before, you begin to question who you are and what your worth is.

Don’t be deceived. You are thinking from a place of pain and hurt right now, but you are still you.

It doesn’t matter if this particular person doesn’t love you because there are plenty of people who do. Don’t let this negative experience fool you into devaluing yourself. You weren’t right for them and that’s ok. You are right for others. Your worth does not depend on how this one person feels about you.

Again, we can broaden this point to cover other areas of your life. Did you get turned down for a job you applied for? It’s their loss. Were you priced out of the housing market in your ideal location? You’ll find somewhere better. Did someone try to make a fool of you in front of others to boost their own fragile ego? How sad for them.

Your self-worth is exactly that: from the self. The most important thing is not what others think of you or what your circumstances are; it’s what you think of yourself. Believe that you are worthy and don’t let anything or anyone convince you otherwise.

7. Your Path Will Twist And Turn

One of the hardest things to come to terms with when you discover that your love is not their love, is that all those dreams you had of a life together turn to ashes.

In your mind, you may have made plans for a shared future; one that you dearly wish could have come true. But it hasn’t and it won’t. And you are now faced with unknown prospects.

This is how life works. The path – your path – is not a straight and easy one. There are twists and turns, dead ends and obstacles. Where you think you are headed might turn into an altogether different destination (not that there are any destinations other than death, only waypoints on your journey).

Know this. Accept this. Realize that you cannot predict what will happen tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. Your life can and will change in many unexpected ways, so you might as well strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. Just leave your expectations at home; they will not serve you.

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