post written by: Marc Chernoff

12 Relationship Truths I Wish I Knew 12 Years Ago

12 Relationship Truths I Wish I Knew 12 Years Ago

Twelve years ago I was eighteen and just entering college.  Since then, friends and acquaintances have come and gone, girlfriends have come and gone, and I met the love of my life, Angel.  I’ve found through my years – through my experience with my own personal relationships – that there are certain undeniable truths that affect the quality and longevity of our relationships, and the resulting impact they have on us.  I share them with you today in hopes that they save you from a little heartache and confusion.

  1. You have to love yourself first. – In order to truly have a loving, supportive, and long-lasting relationship with someone else, you need to learn how to be your own best friend first.  It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.  Read The Mastery of Love.
  2. You get what you put in. – In twelve years, people won’t remember what clothes you wore, which car you drove, and maybe not even your full name.  But in twelve years, they will remember how you made them feel and the positive memories you gave them.  The true impact you make on people will depend on the time and attention you give to teaching those who know less, caring for those who have less, supporting those who are striving, and tolerating those who are different than you.
  3. What most people think of you doesn’t matter. – You wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought of you if you knew just how seldom they do.  No one is ever going to care about your life and the way you choose to live it more than you will.  That is a beautiful thing – never forget how beautiful.  Follow your heart, and take your brain with you every step of the way.  Get to know your true self.  When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, not everyone will like you, but you won’t care about it one bit.
  4. Friends and family won’t always support your goals, but you must pursue them anyway. – Follow your intuition.  Following your intuition means doing what feels right, even if it doesn’t look or sound right to others.  Only time will tell, but our human instincts are rarely ever wrong.  So don’t worry about what everyone else thinks; keep living and speaking your truth.  The only people that will get mad at you for doing so are those who want you to live a lie.  Read The Art of Non-Conformity.
  5. Life doesn’t always change as fast as people do. – Learn to accept that not everyone is who you once knew.  And realize that sometimes it’s not the person you miss, it’s the feeling you had when you were with them.
  6. Some people are meant to stay in your heart, but not in your life. – If you’re having a tough time letting go of someone who left you, realize that if they wanted to stay they would still be there.  Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next.  It sucks when you know that you need to let go, but you can’t because you’re still hoping for the impossible to happen.  Yes, it will hurt for awhile, but you have to forget about the person who forgot about you, and move on.
  7. Everyone has baggage, just like you. – The minute someone decides to walk out of your life, that is the same moment in which the opportunity and space opens up for someone who actually deserves your love to finally walk in.  Remember, everyone has baggage, so don’t be ashamed of yours.  Be patient and find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.
  8. Love doesn’t hurt.  Love is not the problem. – Don’t blame love if a failed relationship interfered with your other important relationships, or robbed you of your self-esteem and personal freedoms.  No, don’t blame love.  For it wasn’t love that stole from you.  It was possession.  It was obsession.  It was manipulation.  It was confusion.  Love had nothing to do with your situation.  For love doesn’t close the door against all that is good.  It opens it wide to let more goodness in.  Love creates freedom and abundance.  Read The 5 Love Languages.
  9. Forgiveness is always the right choice. – Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with strong character to forgive.  When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden.  And no, forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened was OK; and it doesn’t mean that person should still be welcome in your life.  It simply means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let it go and move on with your life.
  10. Love requires three things: acceptance, honesty, and commitment. – Love comes when you care more about who the other person really is, rather than about who you think they should become.  It’s about daring to reveal yourself honestly, and daring to be open and vulnerable over the long-term.  It’s about sticking by each other’s side through thick and thin, and truly being there in the flesh and spirit when you’re needed most.  Remember, the most romantic love story is not Romeo and Juliet who died young together; it’s the story of grandma and grandpa who helped each other through life, and grew old together.
  11. A big part of who you become is who you choose to surround yourself with. – Fate controls who walks into your life, but you decide who you let walk out, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.  Surround yourself with people who make you a better person, and let go of those who don’t.
  12. A soul mate is a person who brings out the best in you. – They are far from perfect, but they are a perfect fit for you.  Remember, every relationship has its problems, but what makes it perfect is when you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, even when times are tough.

Photo by: Mike

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  • The point which really stuck out for me was actually the first one. I have always put my girlfriend’s needs before mine because I always want what’s best for her. It wasn’t until just a while back that I realized our relationship was falling apart and I couldn’t understand why. After a long discussion and a lot of reflecting, I realized that I was putting her before my own needs and it was affecting my ability to provide her with what she needed. I neglected the “love yourself first” part and as a consequence, even though my intentions were good, I was not the same person I was. I came to the conclusion that in order for me to do my part in the relationship, I had to become “whole” on my own first.

    I really wish I was exposed to your post a lot sooner, but I think it may have just slipped my mind back then. A lot of people read something, feel good about it, and then they go on with their lives. I highly recommend everyone reading this right now to read it, and then read it again. Take the principals presented here and ingrain it. It will definitely save you from a lot of heartache and confusion.

    Thank you, Marc, for this lovely post. You have a beautiful relationship and I look forward to reading more from the both of you.

  • Amen. Your advice reads so well in my mind. Never a bunch of doodling or rambling. I could read your insights on and off throughout any day. They consistently promote positivity and good intentions.

    A perfect set of relationship truths in this post. Thanks ♥

  • “Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next.”…I really like that! :-)

    Great post Marc and Angel, as always.

  • I love each and every one of your posts and frequently pick out quotes from your work to tweet, not only to serve as a reminder to myself but also to enlighten my followers. This is probably my favorite blog so far. I love learning from you. Thank you.

  • “They are far from perfect, but they are a perfect fit for you”. Wonderful. A great thought really. When the relationship is going through the troubled times then one should really remember the quote above.

  • Powerful relationship advice, and so very very true. Well worth the read this morning.

  • This article touches me to the core because it’s so timely in this life stage I’m going through.

    Thank you for these wonderful thoughtful words.

  • This piece has some really fantastic advice. My two favorite are the first and the last.
    If you don’t love yourself fully, you can’t give your love fully, and if your giving is partially empty then it’s unfulfilled and lacking.
    “A soul mate is a person who brings out the best in you. They are far from perfect but they are a perfect fit for you.” This is also some of the best advice anyone can learn. Too often people wonder why what they have isn’t the best. They think of how things could be better. Love is an embracing of another, not an altering. If you can learn to truly accept everything the other gives, as a result, you will grow.
    It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks for the great post.

  • I really needed to read #6 on this list today. I was recently dumped after (what I thought was) a great 2 year relationship, and have seemingly been forgotten since. Thank you for such insightful words, even when they’re difficult to come to grips with.

  • “It’s not the person you miss, it’s the feeling you had when you were with them.” It took me six long years of breaking up and getting back to realize this. I’m finally free and have never been happier.

    Truly love your blog…Thank you!

  • Excellent as usual!

  • Regarding your point about separating from the ‘wrong people.’ Sometimes to get yourself back you just have to clear out some other people…. then you realize you were never really gone, just smothered by others.

  • your posts are really mind blowing… i always have a wow feeling after reading them. I was going through a bad phase in both life and relationship your posts helped me keep going in my life… thanks a tons! :)

  • This was so beautiful it made me cry. I have always tried to cling to every friend I have, even when it’s time to release them. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with the “friend responsibility.” This made me realize that friendships have cycles too. They roll in, and roll out of our present lives. Thank you for clarifying it so beautifully.

  • I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog posts. I also learned that when I could love myself (and laugh at myself), then my relationships improved dramatically.

    We all learn the truths you wrote about in our own time. I’m glad I finally got them.

  • Marc, your words are so profound. For the last 2 weeks, every one of your posts applied to what I had to deal with that particular day. Bless you.

  • Great list!

    I agree that it’s important to love yourself and who the hell cares what other people think of you. Stop living your life a people pleaser. Here’s a secret. Most people don’t want to be pleased. They’d rather go through life with a miserable attitude. That’s why the sayings, “Misery loves company ” and “Birds of a feather flock together” are true. Have you ever noticed at work how certain co-workers ‘flock’ together and complain about the boss and or company? Ignore them. Please don’t join them. They’ll only bring you down in more ways than one.

  • Thank you for this. All of your posts speak to my heart as I am trying to sort through alot of broken pieces & come back a better person after being completely destroyed from a toxic relationship of lie after lie.

    Your posts are always part of my daily re-evaluations & give me strength to keep on keeping on. <3

  • Wow what a great post, these are excellent points. I always go back to #1, and find myself repeating this to a lot of my friends and family. It really does start with loving yourself, even though we are all works in progress. It is possible to love AND try to improve ourselves at the same time, and when we do this other people are drawn to us naturally.

    The other points are amazing too, I could go on and on! Thank you!

  • I loved this post today. I have already shared two of the items on my page. Ya’ll are becoming a cult classic among my friends. ;) You have amazing wisdom and insight for a couple who look so young. Thank you for sharing.

  • Acceptance is important to love, and to so many other positive states of life.
    The trick is accepting ourselves first, and what we want in life, and what we think is important, and what we value. But this is hard if we don’t know what we want.

  • Man, I wish I knew these truths 12 years ago too. It sounds like I am about the same age as you. It’s amazing what a decade of life (sometimes the hard way) can teach you.

    The company you choose to surround yourself with really is so important. They say you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with! I published a post about this on my blog this morning actually.

    Oh and by the way I linked to one of your previous posts on negative thinking in it ;-) Always great stuff!

  • Your blog is the one blog I subscribe to. I’ve had my subscription for over a year now, and you haven’t let me down yet. Thanks for keeping it real.

  • I made it my goals to read at least one of these every day almost a year ago. As an advocate for healthy self-leadership and living a meaningful life through your awareness of yourself and the people in your life, I highly recommend this blog to everyone! Healthy thoughts are to the mind as healthy food is to the body.

    Thank you for your consistency with these posts! They are helping me remain optimistic, open-minded, and tremendously grateful! :D

  • Another wonderful article… Thank you so very much Marc & Angel… <3

  • Thank you for sharing this with readers like myself. Upon reading, it caused me to re-evaluate some things in Life and hopefully apply accordingly.

    God bless.

  • For me it is about (re)building self-trust.

  • This is good medicine. I only wish I could love myself-just not there-I think I will reread your post as the first writer suggested so it sinks in a little more.

  • I grew up in the 1970’s never knowing what loving yourself meant. I thought it had to do with being conceited or vane; that only people who were gifted, beautiful, thin, or smart were qualified. I spent my life as a people-pleaser and it never served me well and I never knew why. One day I heard Oprah say on her show that to love yourself meant to take care of yourself. That hit me like a ton of bricks. It was so simple but no one ever explained it. I was 40 and it changed my life.

  • Love ourselves before we can love others. For those of us who already know this, it’s a great blessing since we will be surprised that many people around us do not even know this. How do we love ourselves? Do we just read about it, or do we really put it into practice in our daily lives? I think this is the real challenge for me because if we really believe in something, we must do it, not just say it.

  • My daughter sent me the link to your website. I read it almost every day. After a 30 plus year marriage has ended, I need the positive reflections you provide. Today’s was so very helpful after a bad day. I am trying to work on my self esteem. Your words of encouragement are helping.

  • I just had a special and loving talk with my daughter and told her about your wonderful thoughts with your posts. I am forwarding today’s post to her right now. Thank you again and again for your wonderful philosophy and ideas.
    Bless you both.

  • I love the one on finding someone who will love you enough to help you unpack.

  • A big part of who you become is who you choose to surround yourself with - This is why I love this site. It gets straight in your heart you could only whimper by the realness.

  • Thank you for another great post. The conciseness of your words, straight to the core of the problems, is so much more impactful then the plenty of self-help and enlightenment books I have read.
    Your posts have walked me through my depression last year and supported me when I was trying to find myself back. You have once again changed the life of another grateful soul.

  • Number 1 is the most important I believe. Without this you will always be running uphill and you’ll eventually come unstuck.

  • Truly the last 3 points touched my heart and has given me hope. In my present relation , when i just look back on my man, he is far from perfect. Not measuring up to my own standard, but the truth is he is the only one around me that brings the best out of me. I need to have a rethink the way I treat our relationship. THANKS SO MUCH FOR THESE WORDS, I PRAY FOR MORE WISDOM IJN.

  • Well hello Marc, having recently got out of a 16 year relationship that I should never have been in, I can certainly vouch for number one, if you do not love yourself then you will always sell yourself short.

    There is little point looking back, just accept, understand and attempt to never repeat your mistakes as you move forwards.

    igor Griffiths

  • I love love every single one of the points, especially number 5 and 8. Thank you! :)

  • Giving and allowing without judgment keeps things fresh and alive for me after 38 years of marriage. Can everything be new and exciting every day? Probably not.

    But, looking for ways to give, to surprise, and to discover new things in your friend, your partner, your spouse can go an awfully long way toward keeping things fresh.

    The spirit if giving and discovery almost makes every day like the first day.

  • Thank you for this post…I have been documenting my process of healing from a past relationship in another blog. This post is packed with a lot of goodness for restoration, healing, and getting growing!

    I couldn’t resist re-posting a few of your points. :)

    Thank you!

  • This post should be read by anyone and everyone, regardless of their age, or current condition. It truly serves as an inspiration and reminds us what’s really important in life.

    “You have to love yourself first. – In order to truly have a loving, supportive, and long-lasting relationship with someone else, you need to learn how to be your own best friend first.”

    That quote really hit it spot on. You have to be positive about your own being, you are number one and everyone else comes second.

  • This has to be one of the best post’s in on your website. Every article is quality and so useful in life, but this one is so timely and perfect for right now.

    Numer 10 and 11 are a great encouragement.

    I think they can be applied to friends as well as relationships.

    I am finding it hard to forgive a friend who recently let her feelings known coloured in abusive language and aggressive behaviour. It was shocking to see, but even scarier to realise how lurking beneath a somewhat happy disposition is a person, so angry and untruthful to herself that at the flick of a switch, when challenged, becomes someone else.

    I am sad at what has happened and that a enjoyable and trusting friendship can be destroyed so quickly. Losing a best friend is sometimes as hard as losing a partner. But her behaviour and reaction to what was a misunderstanding has shown me more about our friendship and its value to her than any so called positive experience we have had.

    Your posts are good reminders of how to embrace people with their faults, forgive them for their mistakes (and yourself) and to know when its time to move on.

    So thanks Marc and Angel… you make life easier for me by sharing your wisdom.

  • Wish I could have seen this article 10 years ago. Then I would have saved myself some pain, and been a happy successful person. I have been trying to make my relationship work, but failed million times. I always ended up with heartache. But reading this article I have actually realized several things that I did wrong and why I was driving myself to be unhappy.

    I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful advice Marc.

  • Thank you! I enjoyed reading the article and the most powerful bit for me was #8- that love is NOT to blame because love only opens the door for all that is good.

  • Forgiveness is something I’ve been struggling with lately, in a couple different situations, and this really helped me process some things:

    “Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with strong character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden.”

    Thanks for this excellent post!

  • Guys, you always make me cry (in a good way ) it really feels so good to read all your posts. :)

  • <3 Another well-written, straight-to-the-heart, uplifting and no-BS post in a long line of equally as poignant posts <3 Thanks Marc and Angel. Couldn’t make it through my breakup without this blog or your Facebook page! <3

  • Your words have always inspired me in different circumstances. No.6 is my favorite reminder after experiencing a major heart brake and loss from the past. I wish I could have read your messages a couple of years ago, so I would have found different perspectives to deal with the situation. However, it is never too late to apply on the new chapter and remind myself to love more of who I am.
    Thank you.

  • I like this article but for some reason parts made me uneasy, like “love doesn’t hurt.” I realize that using a part of my brain to be able to concentrate on love & affection and effective communication requires a sacrifice for other cognitive skills. Sometimes I almost think people would be better off without certain feelings of love (for other people), especially if it conflicts with your love for yourself.

  • “Forgiveness is always the right choice. – Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with strong character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. And no, forgiveness doesn’t mean what happened was OK; and it doesn’t mean that person should still be welcome in your life. It simply means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let it go and move on with your life”.

    Thank you for putting into words exactly what I have been trying to tell my family about a certain family member I no longer want in my life. I have forgiven her for what she did to me but I don’t want her or her negativity in my life and it is sad that my immediate family interprets this as holding a grudge.

  • I have been hurt twice by persons: one which I loved and one which I still love. These guys both disappointed me and the first guy never cared at all for me.

    Today I’m faced with something that I would have never expected after sharing 3 years of my life with someone who I still love. I found out about his online flirting with younger girls and it crushed me inside. Because of my love for him I forgave him as he said he made a mistake. 2 weeks later he does the same thing only this time he was flirting with his cousin’s gf. I told him that I couldn’t believe he would ever want to hurt me after everything we have been through.

    He now dates a girl from work who he claims to have been seeking advice from and really wasn’t expecting a relationship with. Yesterday was his b-day and I wished him HBD despite all that i have been through with him. He said to me I thought about you all day long. Tell me why do I still love him so much and why do I care about him when he certainly doesn’t care about me.

    I know I miss the person he was but I can’t seem to understand how can you love someone like he claims and hurt me so much. It’s just not fair. My thought is if you love me you would come back to me and show me you care.

  • I love this article. Thank you so much for writing this. :)

  • You are right :) Soul mate brings out the best in you.

  • My favorite: Surround yourself with people who make you a better person, and let go of those who don’t.

    This is such an important lesson for me and I think for a lot of people who put others first. I have spent so much time taking care of others and not enough taking care of myself. Next step: learning to let go of people that don’t make me a better person and not feel that it’s my responsibility to take care of them. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!

  • loved this. thank you. <3

  • Out of the park advice….again.

  • I love this. I like that you put self-love first because I think it’s really a prerequisite to following the others. I agree with all your points but truly sometimes they’re not so easily implemented in the moment. A lifetime’s work.

  • how good these are…
    thanks for sharing..

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