Through my 18 years of life I've learned over a million things. Languages, arithmetic, how to ride a bike, how to bake cookies, how to write, and so much more. One of the most important things I've learned in life is how to love. How to recognize healthy, beautiful love.
Here are 18 things I've learned about love in 18 years.
1. Love can heal
I've witnessed up front love heal the saddest of hearts. Love has healed my own heart. The heart is a really powerful tool, allowing us to cherish memories along with our brain. With the passing of a loved one, the heart allows us to love the memories we had with said loved one.
Whether it's the saddest, most gruesome battle you've ever been through, the heart is pretty good at showing us love along the journey.
2. Love is powerful
This goes without saying. Love is one of the most powerful tools in this world. Love can destroy enemies like it did in "Harry Potter," (spoiler alert). Love can bring thousands together during a nation's tragedy. Love gives me you. For that, I'm thankful.
3. Love comes in many forms
Love is all over the place. It's in the professors we see each day, as they continue doing what they love for us as students. It's in our pets, as they cuddle up on us at night to keep us warm and safe. It's in our families, as they provide for us for years on end without complaint. It’s in our friends, as they follow us through life and our toughest battles and happiest of days.
4. Love is not allowing your partner to go to sleep sad, angry, scared, or lonely
I've grown up with parents who showed me love very differently. I'm thankful my childhood was different than my friends,' where I grew up with arguments and hurtful love. I'm thankful for who I am today and why. They showed me what love wasn't. And for that, again, I'm thankful.
5. Love is not just flowers and candy
After my parent's divorce, my wonderful Mom met an equally wonderful guy. He provides support for her, and while he does give her flowers on occasion, he knows that isn't what it means to love someone. Flowers signify appreciation. Providing and being patient on the rough days shows love.
6. Love is not arguing until the morning hours
I realized this quickly growing up. Love is staying calm enough to talk out the issue—not jumping to any solution without explanation and fighting for hours upon hours about what could've been quickly discussed in under an hour. I will forever believe in the quote because of this, "Love is patient, love is kind."
7. Love is knowing your partner's favorite song to play in the car
Some think love is as easy as knowing your partner's favorite color. I still know my kindergarten teacher's favorite color. Favorite colors are easy. Find your partner's favorite donut flavor, their favorite brand of hairspray, their favorite scent or smell, and remember it.
Show them that you've remembered their favorite things by doing small things revolving it. Love is not about how big and fancy you can go for your partner. It's the little, beautiful things that matter so much more.
8. Love is not cursing or yelling harsh words of any kind to each other
Being in love does not mean there will never be arguments. However, when there is an argument, you don't treat them like they're nothing; like they mean absolutely nothing. You can't take words and actions back and harsh words are forever seared into the back of someone's mind.
9. Love is cheering for one another, every day
Whether it's your partner successfully finding a new job or they're having the worst day of their lives, you cheer them on. You fight to see that smile on their face, because love means your happiness is also their happiness as well as their sadness is also yours.
10. Love is making sure they're okay on the bad days, and being able to tell when they're not
Everyone has been through it; everyone has done it. People say they're fine when they are 100% not. Love is being able to tell the difference. Love is knowing your partner well and strongly enough to recognize their frustration and sadness—even when they're trying their hardest to hide it.
11. Love is not forcing someone to do anything they don't want to do
This speaks for itself. If your partner does not want to do an activity, you cannot act like your wants are more important than theirs. If your partner is not comfortable with something, you do not act like that is not important.
Partnerships are feeling comfortable enough with each other to say no and knowing that your partner will be perfectly understanding of your wants. Love is not forceful.
12. Love is listening to your partner's wants and needs
This is almost the same as #11, but slightly different for many reasons. Love is caring about your partners' wants and needs enough to be able to give them. This means being able to listen to what your partner needs in their life to provide for them and it's also listening to their wants.
(Such as getting them a kitten when they ask for one.)
13. Love is not threatening anything towards your partner
Once again, and I'm really stressing this one, you cannot force your partner to participate in something they do not want to do. When the word "no" comes along, and it will frequently, then your job is to be okay with that. What you can't do is threaten them or make them feel like they owe it to you, because love takes two people who want to be together, not one controlling the other.
14. Love is not cheating—emotionally or physically
No explanation needed.
15. Love is being able to make your partner laugh on the saddest of days
Needless to say, if you can be the best part of your significant other's day every day, your relationship is full of love. To be able to make your partner laugh on their worst days is a goal everyone should work towards.
16. Love is not making the other cry alone at night, or ever, really
No one likes to feel unwanted. No one likes to wonder if they're good enough. In a partnership, it's you and the other person. Two people trying their best to make it work, and if you decide that you'd rather hurt your partner than love them, the consequences will be there waiting for you.
17. Love is enjoying each other's company, almost always
Everyone likes time by themselves. But love is when you'd rather be with the other person than by yourself. Love is seeing something on social media or in the shop, and sending a picture to them, letting them know you're thinking of them.
Love is wanting to spend more time with them than away from them. However, there is nothing wrong with putting in your favorite movie, popping some popcorn, and enjoying time to yourself from time to time.
18. Love is everything