Real love is something we talk about constantly. It’s something we read about, it’s something we write about, it’s what we wish for when we see a shooting star and as we blow out birthday candles.
Real love is the kind of love that lasts, the kind that withstands time and space, the kind that leaves us breathless and with butterflies. Real love is when you’re old and gray, holding hands with your beloved on your front porch as grandkids run amok on the lawn.
Real love, in whatever picture that paints for you, is out there. You can have it. You deserve it, too. But in order to find it, you must dig deep into your own soul and let go of these three things:
1. Your Ego
When you make the choice to live or spend your life with another person, and you want to be rooted in a love that is honest and real, you must let go of your ego. You must. If you don’t, you’re headed for doom in your relationship, for your ego will come between you both. Your ego is what stops you from apologizing. Your ego can cloud your vision. Your ego is what gets between you and compromise. When your ego is the third person in the relationship, it’s impossible to communicate effectively. And if you can’t communicate effectively, real love cannot take root and bloom.
2. Self-Imposed Timelines
Maybe you grew up on a steady diet of romantic comedies, or maybe your family taught you to believe that love looks like a specific picture. Maybe it’s a combination of them both. But somewhere along the line, you got it into your head that you must be married or partnered by a certain age, and so you keep that number in the forefront of your brain and let it sit with you as you navigate through your life. Please stop doing that, and please hear me when I say it will not serve you well. When you invite that number out with you on first dates or social gatherings, you will either miss the real love that’s out there or you will settle for a love that’s not meant for you. There is no timeline for a perfect happily ever after. Let yourself be free of the pressure to settle down by a certain age and let yourself live. When you live, love will follow.
3. The Quest for Perfection
Nobody is perfect. Perhaps you need to read that again — nobody is perfect. All of us have flaws, and quirks, and things that could potentially be annoying to another individual. All of us have made mistakes. All of us have embarrassing stories of moments we’d rather not relive. This is not a new concept. This is not isolated to you and your potential partner, either. It happens to the best of us, and it is part of life. There is a quote by Sam Keen that says, “You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” Maybe you rolled your eyes when you read that, but it’s true. The beauty of our imperfections birth the purest kind of love, so please stop seeking perfection in another person, because that’s not what real love is about. It’s about seeing how the silver threads of someone’s scars can make the most glorious tapestry that is that person’s soul. It’s about digging deeper, beyond the surface, beyond the ideals of perfection. It’s about finding what puzzle piece fits with your own.