I thought it would be fun to share three simple things I know about love which I've learned from Tunga.
1. Understand What Love Is For You 2. Be Enough By Yourself 3. Make Space in Your Life
Whether you are in a relationship or not, all of these lessons apply.
Understand What Love Is For You
Love means different things to everyone, but we rarely talk about that.
When Tunga and I first met, she didn't English at all and we had to base our relationship on a simpler and more fundamental level - how we treated each other.
We worked together for many months and, like I shared a few weeks ago, she was the kindest person I had ever met.
For over five years since then we have gotten to know each other better every day, and one thing I've learned is that each of us speaks several different languages when it comes to love.
For instance, some of us really enjoy quality time or acts of service, others enjoy words of affirmation, physical touch or receiving gifts. These are just a few examples, but they are very powerful. If you learn how each of these "love languages" work it helps you in two every important ways: you learn what speaks most to you and it helps you understand what others are looking for as well.
Don't worry, this isn't about compatibility, it's about understanding. As Like Nelson Mandela said, "If you speak to a man in a language he understands that goes to his head. If you speak to him in his language, that goes to his heart."
When it comes to love, what we do speaks volumes. I encourage you to check out this fun quiz to learn more about yourself and the people most important to you. It's a great idea to learn how to speak their language.
Be Enough By Yourself
There are several reasons my second book is named Enough, and one of the big reasons was Tunga. As I wrote in the book,
"Tunga didn’t need me... She was fine without me, actually she was great without me. She still is. That allowed us to start not from a place of dependency, where the other person fills some need in us, but instead from a place of appreciation."
This was one of the things that attracted me to Tunga in the first place. She was comfortable being who she was, as a professional, as a sister and daughter, as a friend, as a person. She tried her best every day and she was clear about her values. She didn't need anyone's approval or have anyone to impress. She was who she was.
We all know how hard that is. That's a life's work. I know I'm still working on those things and I still have a long way to go. My point is, we need to know that that journey is ours. Tunga didn't ask for help or expect someone to come fix things or save her. None of us should.
We are each the Harry Potters of our own lives. We all have a lightning bolt on our foreheads. It's up to each of us to find out what our hero's journey is and be confident enough to take the next step.
Just one step now is enough. And then later the step after that.
Be strong enough to take that next step by yourself.
Then, in a wonderful and miraculous kind of way, great people will find their way right there beside you.
Make Space in Your Life
That said, being enough by yourself doesn't mean you hermit yourself off from the world.
On the other side of dependence is interdependence - where two people empower each other to be their authentic selves.
I remember reading once... If you bring someone over to your place and your room/apartment/life is clearly built for one person, what kind of message does that send? One pillow. One cup. One plate. One chair.
The message is: there is no space for them.
On the other hand, what if there are two or more pillows, cups, plates and chairs? Clearly, you are making space for someone special in your life.
This was a powerful message for me, not only in the physical space of my life but in my schedule and mind as well.
When I got older would my schedule magically open up and allow me more time to read stories to my kids, play sports, spend time with my partner, go on adventures and so on? Not likely.
It's much more likely that things will seem busier and busier.
The lesson isn't to wait and see how things turn out, it's to make time for things that matter to you. If you want I want to read stories to my kids like my dad did to me (I do), I need to start practicing now (and I am).
If you want to have future amazing adventures, wonderful sleepy afternoons, play on sports teams and do lots of other great things with someone special, you had better make that space in your life now.
If you protect it now, you'll have the discipline and confidence to do it later. And who knows, you may meet others (and maybe that someone) who value those things too.
There are many more lessons I'd love to write about including how loving someone is loving the future them, realizing everything is temporary, knowing when the special moments are, working through jealousy, and how saying sorry and asking for forgiveness are different, but I will write about those here another time.
Right now it's time to hug a special someone.