Sometimes I wished it was easier for me to express what I was feeling to those who knew me. I used to struggle naming what I was facing. How was it that I could feel so much for a person, and yet they felt otherwise? Why was it that when I liked someone, I felt disappointed being rejected, but then I couldn’t fathom the reason? Was what I was facing normal? All these questions kept hounding me, until I realized I was chasing unrequited love. It also dawned on me that there was so much learn from these experiences. Here’s what I learnt from unrequited love.
1. It taught me self-love.
While the pain of rejection can be great, it could also make you realize that there are some things that are beyond your control, like how people perceive you, who likes you, and who becomes attracted to you. However, it also made me realize one thing – I could control how much love I give to myself. I was not supposed to look for validation in other people, because this validation I need is in myself. Will I be okay being negative when I’m surrounded by people, or do I choose to put my struggles aside and have a more positive outlook towards life? I realized I had a choice in how I viewed myself. Unrequited love forced me to look at how I saw myself, and how I wanted people to perceive me. I could choose to live better, I could exercise, eat healthier, do some spring cleaning, dress in the clothes I’ve always wanted, and be the best version of myself instead of moping around to deal with my rejection.
2. It taught me to value my relationships.
Once you’ve been in unrequited love for some time, it can be hard discerning between what is real and what is imagined. The love I had for this individual could have been one-sided, and I found myself struggling to recognize whether anything that happened was real. It was real. Unrequited love made me realize that I had the capacity to love even with nothing in return. I wanted to use this energy and capacity towards the people that would respect and treasure me. It taught me to cherish familial ties, and to strengthen my bond with friends that were there for me through thick and thin. Sometimes you can be too caught up chasing after others that you forget that the people you needed were always close by.
3. It taught me to rediscover my old passions.
I realized that I needed to distract myself with something that was strong enough to reward and challenge me, and so I went back into things that I was passionate in, like performing and organizing events. I needed to go back into things where I would go on my own accord, with nobody else being a motivating factor. This would remind me that I was the one that encouraged my own self-growth and that I could improve myself no matter what happens to me.
4. It taught me to channel my emotions into more productive things.
There were so many things that I could have worked on instead of chasing unrequited love, like my career and studies. I had to focus on something that was realistic and would definitely pay off in the long run. And while money may not be everything, it certain would help you find shelter, and food for you to eat. It also taught me to challenge my boundaries by doing volunteer work overseas, and this helped me find new friends and make new memories. It could be difficult getting over something that once meant so much to you, but it would be worth it once you replace the unfortunate event with meaningful experiences.
5. It taught me forgiveness.
It’s easy to be bitter and unhappy for the people we once loved because we are not the people they chose, but it is even harder to be happy for them and their future endeavors. It could also have been difficult for them to reject or recognize your love. Even so, it does not hurt for you to forgive them no matter who’s in the wrong. When you forgive them, you also forgive yourself. You realize that you’re human and that you have emotions. It’s better to want for others what you want for yourself. While unreciprocated love may not be the most amazing experience, it could be an opportunity for you to learn from your mistakes and start afresh.
6. It taught me an important life lesson.
Sometimes it was not because the people I loved had high standards, or wanted someone beautiful, sometimes it all boiled down to time and chemistry. If they didn’t feel like they would be compatible with you, the relationship will not work out. Regardless of the times I’ve been rejected, if I were to doom myself into thinking that men would not like me, I would do things that would not benefit me. I would fall for men I knew I had no chances with, or refuse to engage with anyone for fear of rejection. I realized I need to keep an open heart to love someone unconditionally. It may not be my turn now, but I believe one day, someone great would eventually come into my life.