Chapter 5 of the One Life Manifesto: Love.
This is going to be one of my more in-depth chapters, as we are delving into a powerful topic here. Love is such a powerful topic because it really has the ability to affect you positively and negatively. It really has an impact on your life. It can cripple you. It can enhance you. It can really affect you in either direction if you let it. As I experience love with my girlfriend, I definitely learn a lot about the emotion behind it.
But I want to go back and really reflect on the power of love since birth. You see, we are born with our loving mothers holding us. At that instant of being brought into the world we are introduced to love. So, it’s a very powerful introduction right from the beginning. Then as we grow up we start to learn more about the love of our parents and how they take care of us. Then we are introduced to school, where we learn about the loving and helping others.
Collaborating with others and showing that love is powerful because we don’t really understand love in its true capacity until we start dating others. Until we start having a relationship. Then it brings a whole other slew of emotions.
Loving random people, it’s a surface love. It doesn’t take you deep into the topic. It doesn’t take you deep into the emotions. Think about the real love and the troubles that your parents will go through to show love. For instance, my mom left her career because of the love of her three children. She wanted to take care of us. She was there for us. She was present. She was fully in love with us. That was more important than any career or job. So, she took the time and it was due to love.
Your parents will make sacrifices such as the one I have described. I don’t know if we ever fully appreciate what our parents do for us when we grow up and I don’t think we fully understand until we ourselves become parents. Then we learn how to love towards our children. But it is a very powerful emotion when those sacrifices are made for you. Because you are cared for and supported for. You matter and it’s a great feeling knowing that you matter.
As you grow up, you go through elementary school. You may be introduced to surface love as you are being hugged by your peers. Then once you hit 12 or 13 years of age, you might be introduced to relationships. You might find somebody at that age who loves you. Although at the age of 12-13 years you are still too young to really understand the longevity and the power of love. It’s still very new to you. I had crushes on girls in elementary school and then a kiss on the cheeks was as far as I got. I wasn’t too keen with love in elementary school. It wasn’t something that I was identified with. It wasn’t something that I was comfortable with. I didn’t put myself out there, not that anyone should feel obligated to do so at that age. But there are some that connect.
Same with high school. High school is perhaps the real introduction of love. Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11. You may be introduced to your first relationship where there are feelings of love. Even for myself I never actually felt that. It’s once again crushes and dreams about particular girls. But perhaps you are in a relationship and it is a young relationship. You are at a young age and you are still learning. You haven’t really developed the sense of true love yet. It’s not something you can appreciate at that age. It’s still very new to you. For me I felt too immature to be in a situation of love even though most relationships would be immature at that age.
I started loving what other girls were doing. My later high school years I really appreciated and admired what other women were doing and I said: that would be somebody I would love to date. I admired couples that really looked like they would eventually get married. Some did. They were highschool sweethearts. It’s definitely admirable to see.
I was loved when I was growing up. My parents loved me so much that I too wanted to show love to someone. I wanted to find that love, yet I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Because I never fit in with high school, I never fit in with elementary school. I stood out as somebody who didn’t belong to a group. I just didn’t interact socially with anyone to the extent that others would. Therefore, I didn’t confidently put myself out there. I didn’t confidently show that I was ready to find someone, even years later.
High school may still be too young and that is fine. You may feel young and that is fine. In university, I really focused on education instead of girls. I really focused on learning. At least that’s what I used as an excuse for not finding love. I was surrounded by women. I had plenty of opportunities to date and I had the encouragement of my parents to even be dating.
It was very nerve-wracking for me. It may be for you as you look for potential love in someone else. It may be as crippling to you as public speaking is for some. And it really is.
My first couple of years in university, I was working a part-time job and there was this girl who I really wanted to ask out. It had to have been one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my entire life, asking this girl out. Yet it was so innocent. It was just a date, not even the first kiss yet. The thought of asking somebody out for a date was absolutely terrifying. But as a man, the man must do it.
The man must put himself out there, take charge and say: that is the person I would like to date. The man must reach out.
This was before online dating was really a big thing. Online dating was still in its infancy. So, introverts such as myself really had to get over the barriers of the nerves and the anxiety. The overall fear of rejection. There is always potential for rejection. As you delve into love you will no doubt be putting yourself into the realm of rejection.
But I wanted to experience love. I wanted to find out what it felt like and I thought that this girl might be the one. And so, I managed to ask her out. It was very adorable, now that I look back. I had a pen and sticky note in-hand. I was prepared to receive her phone number to call her, to let her know when I would pick her up. I was so prepared that it just seemed all rehearsed. Looking back I would say that rehearsing with dating is not optimal. The most natural approach is always the best. Nonetheless, it was a learning experience. I was glad that I took the punch. Though I needed the change of underwear afterwards because of the amount of sweat dripping out of my body and everywhere. Yes, it was absolutely nerve-wracking.
For the actual approach of the date, I decide to get 18 roses. 18 red roses with a nice glass vase for her as I arrived at her doorstep. Her parents were looking onward. Once again it was overdone. It was forced. It was me trying too hard. It wasn’t the time. It was only the first date. I just needed to show up, be present, and just be myself, my confident self. At last I was not confident. I was a total disaster. During dinner there were crickets. I didn’t bring crickets with me. I brought roses. That damaged my self-esteem for several years. I didn’t approach dating for quite a while after that first date.
I let that affect me. Based on that one learning experience of the first date and first attempt at love. I have to say this one piece of advice: you need to keep pushing forward as if you are looking for a job and you are trying to find somebody else. You have to keep plugging away and keep looking. Don’t let that stop you if it’s a disaster. Learn and carry on. There are plenty of people out there who may be interested in your love. That was the first date. Unfortunately, I did not push through. I did not carry forward. I let that cripple me.
In university, one of my better friends happened to be a girl. Being her friend was great exposure to the female mannerisms and understanding female psychology. It was the kind of exposure I needed to get back into the dating scene. Being an introverted male, I was very shy. The thought of again approaching woman terrified me, so having a female friend assisted me in my comfort.
For my later years I was glad that I had her. There were times when I asked her out and she always thought that we were in a friend-zone situation. Friend-zone meaning I was never ever going to be more than a friend to her, even though I wanted to be more than a friend. I knew it was never going to happen and that’s okay. Looking back, she was right to do so. She was not interested in me and I never got the hint. I never called her to at least say this friendship was okay. I am a man. I can hold my ground and you can still just be my friend.
For some reason, she had to be my girlfriend or nothing. That was not a good approach, as I think men would be best served if they had more female friends to learn from. Women friends can help prepare you for the real date and put you into a comfortable state around the opposite sex. Vice versa for women. Women should have heterosexual male friends as they too will learn to be comfortable around the opposite sex. Then when the time comes, it is not a difficult journey. It is a rather easy one to start into. All it takes is perhaps one friend as the opposite sex, whether it be your sister-in-law or cousin. Could be someone related. Just being around the opposite sex will make you more comfortable. But make sure that it is nothing more than friendship. Make sure that you don’t expect more than that. Unless you love that person. Then you may wish to continue forward and pursue that individual. Try not to have that kind of expectation. Try to just have a friendship.
My later years in university, there was another girl who I went to the movies with. She was this absolutely bright, intelligent girl. I had the pleasure of working on many projects with her. She was this girl who was determined, ambitious, and somebody who I could really see a life with.
We got along so well and once again this was a devastating blow in that I was never ever thought of as more than a friend. She was just very friendly to me. That is how she approached people who were as ambitious as she was. She would work closely with them to successfully go about her school work. There was nothing wrong with her approach. It was just everything was wrong with me. I always expected more and I never approached her directly to ask her out. Everything was very indirect. I never confidently stood out. As a man, I wanted to ask her out. I always appeared like a friend again. I learned that hesitation would prevent me from dating successfully.
It was my fault that I did not learn from my female friends over the years. I didn’t understand how to get past that friend-zone and it was a challenge. I still think that the exposure to this girl was fantastic. I learned so much about intelligent, confident women. The fact is they are people and they are not to be downplayed. They are on the same path as us men and vice versa, we are on the same path of finding love. We also have similar ambitions. We are people.
Perhaps the learning from that was: women are just like men – people. They are not to be placed on a pedestal as this unattainable object. That will make your reach even more difficult. That would make your venture into the dating world even more difficult. Stop looking at the opposite sex as some trophy. Some difficult ambition. You need to break it down and put it on a level with you. Hence the friend of opposite sexes makes a difference in your growth with the opposite sex. It is important to consider.
During my corporate gigs, I was exposed to office romance. This is the relationship that I thought was my first experience with love. Once again this was a devastating blow. The woman that I had a relationship with was married with a child. And I knew this going in. But I was excited by the prospect of somebody caring for me and I was excited by the prospect of caring for others. So, I continued down this dark path of being in a relationship that I should not have been in. As a man, I should have said: no, this is enough. But I enjoyed the gratification of being with somebody. So, I continued and she had to break it off. Once she was pregnant with her husband, she broke it off.
Looking back, I am glad she did, as it was ruining my life. It was dragging me down. Knowing I could not be with somebody fully and that this individual did not reciprocate with the love that I had for her. I was able to handle this relationship better than my previous ones, as I had matured slightly. I had grown older. I had learned about love and relationships. I had gone through some terrible situations. This one was easier to handle.
Even though it was the greatest devastation at that point for my relationships and certainly put to question my love towards others and how I look at love. I hope you do not have to go through a similar relationship of toxicity. You may, and if you do, it will not be easy to get out of. The satisfaction is great. You feel sucked in. Trapped. Get out of a toxic relationship like this as fast as you can.
You have an opportunity to find something else out there. She is not the only one. He is not the only one. The child is not the only one. That is not your child. You should not be involved with that individual. It is not right. In the short-term, satisfaction can be a detriment to your long-term happiness. But if you are in a toxic relationship, you need to get out now. You need to step out and get out now or it will ruin you. Go and seek love elsewhere. There is plenty of it elsewhere.
I wish I had broken it off. I did not. I was not strong enough and I am glad she did. I cut all ties. I do not talk to this individual anymore as this is a reminder of the terrible relationship I once had. I flipped the page and I moved forward. You should too. There is no point in spending time or thought on the relationships of the past. That will not do you any good. Understand, learn and move on.
One to two years later I got back into the dating scene – properly this time – by playing to my strengths. I am an introvert and not socially strong as others are. So, I signed up for an online dating account. You may be best served to do so as well if you are struggling to find love. This is a tool to find it, especially if you are shy or you are uncomfortable as I am around women. I am really glad I give online dating a try. I did not think of it as a bad thing because it certainly is a tool to find love. If something will help you find love then I fully support it. I think you should as well, as it will open you up to more opportunities. More possibilities. It will put yourself out there and that is important.
It may be challenging at first when you go into online dating and you feel that there is no love out there. With patience, you will find a connection. But in the time that you are waiting, continue to work on yourself. Continue to work on your presence. Continue to work on who you are and show your best self out there. Have a positive attitude – the opposite sex will want to see that. And if they do not see it in you, they will not be attracted to you. So, consider being the best you. If you are, there will be somebody out there who will see that and will connect with you.
You need to work on yourself in your dating journey. I did and it was the single reason why I was able to attract opportunities. I started to exercise. I started to make myself look like somebody attractive. Judgement does happen on the surface in this world. To get to love you may need to tweak your appearance. Don’t be a slob. I would say that you don’t need to go too extreme. When you find love somebody, they will accept you for how you currently look. If you are a man, you may want to get a haircut and ensure that you are clean shaven. Your beard should be trimmed. Don’t look like a panhandler. Ensure your clothes are not tattered or dirty. Ensure that you don’t smell like BO. BO is a barrier to love. These are basic hygienic principles that you need to take care of if you want to be worthy of affection. The same goes for women with your hygiene.
When you manage to get that date. You just need to be yourself. Forget the 18 roses. 18 roses will not buy love. Consider that Beatles song. Love can’t be bought. Go in being comfortable with yourself. Pay attention to yourself. Improve yourself. You will feel more confident and just feel like “you” when you go in. That is so important in being who you are. That brings wonders for you and your successes.
You have quirks. That is okay. We all do. It may be a good time to bring those out in the beginning to find out if the woman or man identifies with those as well. Don’t keep things a secret. Then they will feel like they can share their insecurities and their quirks. Guys should take initiative on this to make the woman feel more comfortable.
That genuine communication at the start is critical because then you are breaking barriers right away. Your first date can be so successful if you just be yourself and you show your vulnerabilities. Get past the surface judgement. They have already seen you. Most likely they have already looked you up online and they have done their research. They have learned about you. They have found out who you are. They have done their research. Now if you get to the first date, being yourself is important. Because if you are fake then you are leading them down the wrong path. You are putting on a show. The first date when you are face-to-face is not where you put on a show. Be yourself because it is the way to filter out which people will accept you or not.
There’s no point in a second date if there is no connection. Thank the opposite sex and be on your way. Do not waste time. Do not waste their time. Do not lead them on. Do not take advantage. Do not hook up. Treat them with respect as they would want to be respected. As all people want to be respected. As they are people and we deserve to be treated with respect. I respected all of my dates. I treated them with the utmost respect.
For those dates where there was no connection I did my best to let them know that this wasn’t going to work out. Although I was shy and it was difficult to say that. Hey! This is not going to work out. So awkward. I had several awkward dinners with women and we did not connect. Some of them had the same occupation. Still they did not connect with me well. I realized that even if they do have similarities, it doesn’t mean that they will connect with me. That is okay.
I was exposing myself to many dates and many different women. Conversations were happening at a pace I never experienced before and it was good. It was good exposure. I never took advantage of any of the women. I absolutely respected them. As I always have and I always will. And I wish men were more like that. I wish men weren’t jerks. If you are listening to this, do not be one. Do not take advantage. Do not try to gain some sort of satisfaction to make it a game. It is not. This is a journey to try to find love and it is important that you respect the journey.
This accumulation of effort to find somebody really built me up and helped me with my maturity in the dating world. Had I not done any of this, had I sat at home and dwelled on my rejections and my failures, I wouldn’t have been exploring the beauty of love and the excitement of the pursuit. I wouldn’t have grown as a human-being. It wouldn’t have seemed right isolating myself. I was still young and we are always young. Young enough to find love.
So, I kept pushing forward, knowing that one day I would find somebody. And I did because I didn’t give up. I continued to put myself out there and I eventually found somebody who I fell in love with so quickly that I was wondering if this was okay. Then I realized this was love. This was genuine love. It had accelerated and this girl was absolutely so special to me because she was so true to herself and I found it so adorable.
We were different. It’s cliché to say that opposites attract but she was different. Different from me, but in a good way. In a very good way. We complemented each other. We had different interests and we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones because of our differences. We tried new things together. That took us away from the norm.
And as I am speaking about this girl, she is still my girlfriend. This is the longest relationship I have ever been in and I hope that this is going to continue and that I continue to work to be the best boyfriend and potentially husband for her. I would very much like to go down that road with her.
The reason why I talk about my love is that this is exactly what you need to look for. So, when you see her, are you smiling and are you happy that she is about to jump into your arms? Are you excited about the thought that you get to hold her? That you get to kiss her on the forehead, the cheeks and the lips? Do you get excited about those things? If you do there is love there. I feel that every day with her. When I don’t see her, there is sadness in that. I miss some of that love but I know she is there and I am absolutely waiting for her every day. Ready to show my love and be there for her and support her and care for her. My parents have done so for me, and I too want to show that love towards her. I want to spend my time, the time that I have, to show her that I absolutely love to her. I want to dedicate my life going forward to her. To live a life with her.
What I learned in a long-term relationship such as this is that there will be ups and downs. There will be obstacles. There will be challenges. These challenges will bring to question whether you want to be with her. Whether you want to break up. Whether you want to carry forward. Whether you want to go through with the challenges. It really puts a ton of stress on your thoughts to the point where you are screaming with yourself every day. Deciding whether it is worth it. Whether love is worth it. It is going to test you.
I realize that love is not easy. It reminds me of the sacrifices that my parents had to make and those decisions are not easy to make in the face of love. It was not something that could be decided in a day. It’s not an easy decision. Absolutely it is challenging every single day. When there is a challenge, I think about the overall picture. I ask: are these actually serious challenges? Or are they just little roadblocks? Little bumps in the road that can be taken care of fairly easily? Are they really as serious as I make them out to be?
And I think about my previous relationships and how devastating they were and all the different emotions I had to go through. I would say those challenges were significant. These present challenges are minor and these are worth it because I found somebody. These are absolutely worth it. You let her know the challenges. Then you are fully committed – 110% to be there every day. That you are waiting. That you will love her unconditionally. That is how I feel. There might be some subtle challenges but if you find that love, the challenges are absolutely worth it. They are so worth it. Because of that strong love, you know that there will be challenges regardless.
If you want love, you are going to see challenges to overcome. You are going to see that in every relationship. So, you should embrace it. You should say: it is okay. I will take this challenge. I will handle it. You will go through fights in the pursuit of love. You will go through arguments, differences. How you handle those fights is really important to your maturity. The fights are really important, as long as you both know that you love each other. The fights happen to learn about each other passionately, to learn more about each other, to understand the shortcomings in the relationship. Figure out how to address your shortcomings. How to improve upon your relationship.
If you are not fighting, you are not having in-depth discussions. You are not talking about the important things. You should be fighting. But not every day. They should be controlled and not vicious. They should not be detrimental to one’s health. They should definitely be reasonable. They should be constructive for your love. You should both have a resolution and you should both make up afterwards. You should both love each other afterwards. Realize that the fight helped you both grow in the relationship. Accept that there are those times when you will be angry with one another. That is absolutely okay. Make sure that you are there with your arms open, ready to hug her. Be there for her on the next date.
In terms of intimacy I want to let the man know that it is not about us. It’s never about us. We have a right to make sure that women are always happy. We must please them without any expectation of satisfaction in return. We must satisfy our women before we satisfy ourselves. That is absolutely the most critical piece to your intimacy. You are giving everything that you can to make sure that they are satisfied.
Man should open doors for their woman. Man should say: “I love you” more often. Man should call their woman and communicate with them. Talk to them. Women want to talk. They want to hear you. Don’t let everything sit inside your head. Talk about it with her. She is your best friend. She has a right to know what’s going on inside your head. You owe her that.
Communicate with her. Make sure that she is happy. That is absolutely important. Go out of your way to delight her every day. You are privileged to have somebody next to you. You have this wonderful person that’s willing to spend time with you. You need to cherish that and be grateful for it and thankful for it.
Let her know how much she means to you. You should let your parents know how much they mean to you too. And your siblings. And your family. And your friends. You should let them all know how lucky you are that they are there with you.
I can’t say I know everything about love. I can’t say I know anything about love. It is such a complicated journey to learn about love. I still struggle with it every day. I am trying to learn as I am young at 28. My first real true-love relationship wasn’t until the age of 27, when there was love on both ends. Love from both of us towards the relationship. Now since the age of 27, it is something I continue to learn about every day. As I look forward and aim to improve my relationship with my girlfriend, love is so critical. I do absolutely love her.
I hope that you find someone who you absolutely love. You may be in your first relationship or second relationship. You may be giving up on relationships because you couldn’t find love. But keep trying. Use your experiences that you have learned and keep pushing forward as I have. You may find success. Hold onto that success. Nurture that success as you grow.
Final word. I can’t wait to have children. I have read a lot on parental development and there is quite a bit to be said about love for your children if you have children. You should love them all the time. They might get angry at you. They might throw a tantrum. What I have learned is that you will hug them anyways, even if they are screaming in your ears. You will hold onto them and you will cherish them and you will show unconditional love towards them. Even if they are a pain in the ass.
They are your children and you should love them always. Support them, love them, care for them. That’s what I have learnt from my parents. They love me every day and they still do. I can’t wait to show the same love for my children and show my children that I love my wife. To show my children that love is absolutely important in this world is a special feeling. I cannot wait to show them how much I love them. That I will be there for them.
There is so much more to be said about love. I am only 28 and happy to describe my experiences to this point. I hope that you have found love or that you will find love eventually. I know you will.