One day, Cupid was hanging out when he glimpsed two potential partners walking around.
He shot one with his arrow, and as he was reaching for the second one, he realized that he was fresh out—so he went home.
Then he realized that there were no more arrows there either. Cupid never went back to visit those potential partners, instead leaving only one person with an arrow piercing their heart.
I tell myself this story any time I’m dealing with unrequited love.
One-sided love can often be an arduous and destructive journey. There’s a poem by Rumi that perfectly describes it, and whenever I read it, I relate to the pain of wanting to give up on someone’s love but not being able to.
The poem goes like this:
“How long are you going to beat me like a drum
and make me sigh for you like a violin?
You answer, ‘Come. I will hold you close
and stroke you like a lute.’
But I feel more like a flute
that you put in your mouth, and then neglect to blow.
I realize that the dawn when we will meet again will never break,
so I give it up, little by little, this love.
But something in me laughs when I say this,
someone shaking his head and chuckling softly,
Giving up, little by little, on the love we have for someone who doesn’t love us back is challenging and doesn’t happen overnight. But the good news is that we can move on if we adopt the right tips and put them into practice.
If you happen to have feelings for someone and those feelings are not mutual, here are some ways to help you cope:
1. See reality.
Oftentimes, our hopes are different than our reality. When we are overwhelmed with emotions, we fail to see what is actually happening—and instead, we focus on our hopes. Consequently, we disregard our beloved’s actions if they show anything other than what matches our wishes.
We should behold the actions of the person we love, instead of focusing on our expectations. We’ll eventually realize that what we’re expecting is different than what truly is.
2. Love yourself.
There’s a quote that says, “Be the love you never received.” When we love someone who doesn’t love us back, we usually look at the parts of ourselves that this person might not have loved.
Instead of focusing on what hasn’t attracted this person, we should love ourselves just the way we are and eliminate any destructive thoughts that might block this process. It’s our chance to give ourselves the kind of love that we expect from others.
3. See their flaws.
Occasionally, we put the person we love on a pedestal and idealize them. I believe that when it comes to love, we should love the person with all their flaws because it strengthens our union. However, when it comes to unrequited love, loving the flaws only keeps us hooked and disillusioned.
When dealing with one-sided love, it is valuable to shed light on the flaws instead of transforming them into perfect imperfections—it can help us get over the person faster.
4. Understand your psychological make-up.
It’s in our nature to desire what is often unattainable. The more something appears inaccessible, the more we tend to want it. Understanding how our minds work helps us figure out the reality of things.
And the truth is that part of our desire to be with that person might be because they don’t want to be with us.
5. Attracting the same person over and over again.
We tend to unconsciously repeat the same patterns in our lives. When it comes to love, especially, we’re inclined to attract the same kind of lovers over and over again. Some of us attract emotionally unavailable people, cheaters, or commitment-phobic partners. The pattern repeats itself, because there’s something inside us that we need to work on.
Notice if you fall in love with the same type of people, and try to solve the underlying issues—most are problems that stem from our childhood or past traumas.
6. Know that it’s not you.
We usually associate unrequited love with our own shortcomings. As long as we maintain this conviction, we stay with that person to show them there’s nothing wrong with us. We need to know that experiencing unrequited love has nothing to do with something being wrong with us.
Many of us experience this. A person may fall for us, but we might not be into them for reasons that have nothing to do with them—and the opposite is true.
Remember what Warsan Shire said: “You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, something not everyone knows how to love.”
7. Don’t regret it.
When it comes to unrequited love, we frequently blame ourselves for falling for the wrong person. Instead of beating ourselves up for it, we should find the gift.
Unrequited love is a blessing in disguise. It’s proof that we can love and give so much, which only tells us that we are prepared for the person who will give us back double.
8. Accept it.
We might chase the people who don’t want us because we have an unconscious desire for closure, or for a way to change the past.
I know it’s hard to move on without closure, but sometimes the situation ending is closure in itself. The person you love knows you love them, but they don’t feel the same—and it doesn’t help anyone to try and change their mind. Let go of finding closure—move on without it.
9. Someone will love you (or already does).
Yes, in order to find the person who loves you, you must make space for them to enter your life. The first step toward creating this space is to let go of love stories that are no longer serving you.
Stephen Chbosky says, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” Identify what you deserve in a lover, and I promise you’ll find it one day.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Leo Hidalgo/Flickr
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Taia Butler