Franca Gimenez In the last few days, and especially the last year I have learned some very valuable things about “love.” I think it is an interesting topic to take a stance on as everyone has a different opinion on what love is. Our modern society has us believing that love at first sight is real and possible, that love is quick, and romantic. I think a lot of people believe love conquers all, but could it be that love ruins all? Something I learned I believe from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck By Mark Manson. In many cultures in the past, love has been seen as a bad thing, like a drug that one becomes addicted to and loses all their senses in. It was once strongly discouraged to fall in love. Do you blame this thought process? What are you like when you’re “in love?” I do things I would never do, I justify things that aren’t worth justifying. I let people treat me badly because, they love me and mean well. When did love become an excuse? Something I learned from people telling me they love me. They don’t always mean it. It’s super easy to tell someone you love them, because it seems like the thing to do, or it slips out, or it gets them what they want from you. I thought of love as a promise, like when someone loved me, they could never hurt me. But that’s untrue. And often people who throw the word “love” around, are the most capable of hurting you and the most willing to as well. Something I learned from a mentor of mine. You have to know someone to love them. Don’t let “love” sweep you off your feet. If you have a list of deal breakers, and you pay attention to them, and stop making excuses for the person when they break them, then you can ACTUALLY find the right person and quit getting hurt. You find out if you love someone once you get to know them, the people they spend their time with, what makes them tick. Love is unconditional, love is accepting of flaws. Love is KNOWING and ACCEPTING someone for both the good and the bad. Something that I’ve always loved. There is not one person on this planet that is worth lying awake at night crying about or questioning your self-worth over. It’s true. If at ANY point you ever question who you are as a person, there is no love. Again, love is accepting. There is nothing that the people I care about could do or say to make me change my mind on them. Everyone has flaws, each and every one of us. But each and everyone one of us has things that are great about us, and worth loving. So I think my plan for the next while, is to stop looking for love, and start trying to be the best version of myself I can be. I don’t need to get rid of my flaws, and neither do you, they will always be there. But we can always build off what makes us amazing, and let that grow to become better. Life is not a fairy tale, and heartbreak is quite frankly an option, not a definite. But then again, I feel I have learned the most about life and myself through heartbreak, so maybe it’s worth it?