Young love, first love, summer love, real love. It certainly does teach you a lot, doesn’t it? It opens your eyes to a new world filled with emotions and the unexpected. It cracks your invulnerability and wipes the fairy-tale that ever played in your head. But it can also save you from ignorance and repair what was once broken.

I owe a lot to my relationships. They revealed to me the kind of power I have to love someone. To truly make someone the center of my world. They gave me the push to realize I’m a beautiful woman, deserving of any kind of love I desire. They taught me the importance of risk and caution. That it’s ok to take a chance on love while still protecting my heart because even though there may be heartbreak, the world isn’t like a Shakespeare play.

Time, no matter how short, has no significance when what you feel is authentic and… over-whelming. I was given memories that I will always hold close to my heart. Their love taught me that people love differently or were taught how to love a certain way. But that’s OK, because not only will I be able to learn from my future husband, but I’ll be receiving the love I need. They opened my eyes to the notion that my love is not perfect either. My heart, however, is always on my sleeve.

My ex’s taught me that love can be very blind. That placing your heart into the wrong hands can be detrimental if you allow yourself to be too naive. If there’s cause for any doubt in the relationship or poor communication, chances are slim that it will last. But I do believe in that some people do change for love. There are always exceptions in my book.

They proved my resilience is greater than the suffering. Any power they had over my heart was only given by my permission and I could take that away in the blink of an eye. They taught me some people really do have ill-intentions and others truly don’t know what to do. But most importantly, they taught me not everyone means what they say and that, although, I may be able to look in your eyes, I have no idea what lies in your heart.

They proved my resilience is greater than the suffering.

I learned what was acceptable for my future relationship and what mistakes I will never make again. I value myself and my love more than I ever did because of what I experienced with them. I could say I’ve wasted the tears on people who didn’t deserve it… but if you take them out of the equation, my feelings, my actions, my heart were always 100%.

Thank you to my past loves for reminding me that every tear I shed was counted and that loving myself was the first battle I needed to conquer to lead me into finding my forever.