When you love someone you don’t try to change them. Send tweet.

It’s one of the simple facts of life. Chocolate always tastes good after a long day. No one ‘likes’ running. And finally, ‘when you love someone, you don’t change them’.

Their flaws are the best part about them. It’s not a question of holding them against the person you love. Yes, it’s human nature to feel like you have flaws or mistakes or things that you need to improve upon. But the need to be needed and form connections is one that is fundamental to the human experience. This includes both physical and emotional, even spiritual moments that you can forge together with another person. It allows you to be vulnerable (scary) and honest (gosh!) with other people and yourselves.

Resultant of this instinct, we form communities and band together with common interests to face common enemies, and the same is true on the individual basis. While it’s perfectly fine to be nomadic, or to love living alone and in your own space, it’s also extremely natural – not dated, or silly – to want to shack up with someone. This was true of cavemen gathered around primitive fires, and it’s true of your Sunday morning family brunch in 2019. It’s just science, guys. 

When you’re in a relationship you need to feel like you can be vulnerable and loved for those vulnerabilities.

Otherwise, you don’t have an outlet, and you will start to bottle up your emotions. Nothing good comes in those bottles, my friends. 

We need to let our guards down – do you guys remember what it feels like to go home to your family for the holidays when you sit by a warm fire and get fed to within an inch of your life by your slightly overbearing mother and father? That’s what we acclimatise to as children, and it’s right that we should desire it as adults. These feelings are valid and rooted in social structures that have pervaded for centuries. 

Another key fact to note is that we aren’t perfect and we don’t need to always feel perfect, empowered and beautiful. The goal of life isn’t to feel free and pretty and palatable. Sometimes you need to sweat it out and just get on with things without worrying about other people.

Sometimes you need other people to connect with to grow together. It’s the plot of all the great romcoms to grace our era, where the girl sets about improving the guy’s way of life to impress another girl, but they end up falling in love with each other. Both grow into well-rounded adults, capable of compromise, compassion, and communication. What about that is not desirable?

It sometimes takes another person loving you to realise how much you love yourself – I know, it’s cheesy, but am I wrong?

Sometimes you need the person you love to announce that they adore your birthmark or freckles or thighs or fringe for you to recognise it yourself. We see ourselves through the same lens everyday, but you can revitalise and reenergise your self-love in conjunction with emotional support from another person. That’s just as valid as coming to similar conclusions on your own, and we shouldn’t have to be emotional masochists and suffer alone. We rid ourselves of the capability to do this by thinking that people need to change to be worthy of our love. Love is something freely given and your heart is willingly received by another.

It’s not a decision or something caveated by conditions. Otherwise it’s not love. 

Therefore, it’s important to try to know your own limits, tendencies and hobbies so that you can step back to recognise your own goals and desires. Once you do so, you can lay out some achievable, reasonable goals and life markers that actually make sense to you. You can’t live someone else’s life or try to become someone that you think you ought to be. Or someone that you think your partner wants. I’m going to say this again for the people who weren’t concentrating earlier:

Your partner wants you! That’s why they’re in a relationship with you and not a perfect robot. 

Furthermore, the less conviction you have in who you are, the less desirable and consistent you are. You will waste your life away, missing opportunities or wasting time and resoruces doing things that you know aren’t your thing. It’s one thing to get out of your comfort zone. It’s quite another to inhabit someone else’s. 

Honestly, it’s not that life would be bad if you weren’t in love, but let’s face it, for those of us that seek emotional validation and support from others, it’s the bee’s knees. It’s great to be able to give yourself to another person and be vulnerable, and of course we still get that from friends and family, but there is something different. It changes how you perceive the world around you and impacts upon what you value. Everything is relative, but that’s even more true when you’re in love. Committed to another person, and caring about their welfare above, well, most things. 

Just as we are willing to overlook flaws in others – they do the same for us.

We’re all secretly thinking that we are the worst people in a room and that we are the exception to all social codes. Not so. When you love another person unconditionally you also give yourself space and time to love yourself. And, in loving their flaws, you realise that yours aren’t all so bad after all.

You learn so much more about your own needs. Sometimes in the dark recesses of our mind there lies a few thoughts that we would rather didn’t see the light of day. They largely comprise of self-hating angst and irrational stress about things we can’t control. But lots of us grow up thinking that we’re unloveable, or that a relationship won’t ever be on the cards. Therefore, when we eventually get what we’re looking for, we realise how much we can offer the world.

Indeed, once you’re comfortable, you recognise your own needs. You also realise that you can communicate these needs, boundaries or desires and have them happily met or discussed. In short, you have proof that you are a good person, worthy and capable of love. It makes self-love so much easier when you have proof. 

Therefore, as I wrap up this essay and reflect on another emotional whirlpool in two pages or less – I have one more thought to leave you guys with…

When to love another person’s flaws, you realise that it’s okay to have some yourself.

And we are all the happier for having that realisation. 

Happy trails, everyone.

Go out there and love someone, good and proper!