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  • Writer's pictureErika Sardinha

5 Fundamental Rules on How to Love when you didn't have the best examples growing up

I come from a loveless upbringing. I mean, love was there but I never felt it. It was like all this love thing belonged to the soap operas. Hugs and "I love you's"? "All bulshit, it's not like this in real life... All this "nhenhenhe" is not real, people don't really do this in their homes" I was told once, while we were watching something on TV.

I received love in the form of food on the table and basic needs (Which I deeply appreciate). The couples around me were cheating, beating, hating each other, lying, pretending and basically just did not love each other. Hugs came from outsiders and I heard the words "I love you" from a couple of friends for the first time in my life when I was already a grown-up person. Time and time again, I was the receptacle of hate and pain from someone very close to me. Someone who was supposed to love me and take care of me. So how could I know how to love?

I didn't. But I knew that I had infinite love inside me so when I went on my self-discovery journey, love and relationships were at the top of my list.

I rubbed my hands and got to read, got to watch videos, got to work on myself, and got to learn a few things that I would like to share with you today. Are you ready?

1. Love yourself first

Let's face it, when you love yourself you don't settle for less, you don't sabotage yourself and you don't pretend to be someone that you are not just to please a stranger. When you love yourself you don't feel the need to hurt yourself or others, because you have no room for that. The thing is... almost none of us has learned how to nurture self-love.

I could write an entire book on this subject but here you have a few nuggets that may help:

- Forgive every single person you have to forgive, including yourself. Free yourself from guilt and stop punishing yourself for something that someone has done to you.

- Your body is a temple, treat it properly. Get enough sleep every day, eat healthily, drink water, exercise...

- Get some time alone and be silent. Meditation is my go-to, but you can just sit down and listen to what your soul is longing for.

Just imagine what kind of relationship you would be able to create if you already have love for yourself. How would you communicate, how would you make love, which places would you take your partner to, and how many new things would you try out? What kind of partner would you let into your life?

2. Admit you know nothing (and be willing to learn)

It's okay, no one knows what they are doing anyway. You can drop that weight and quit feeling like an alien because you are not. Believe me, I'm an alien. I know what I'm talking about.

Good news is: You can learn EVERYTHING! Just keep in mind that you will be learning throughout your entire life and that is totally normal.

Allow yourself to slowly tap in into this crazy world of relationships and to learn things at your own pace, creating your own kind of relationship.

3. Forget about all the nonsense you have learned over the years

Things like "Wait a few hours before answering a message"; "Never text first"; "Play hard to get"; "Men are all the same"; "Women are all the same"; "Everybody cheats"; "love does not exist"; "love is pain" etc. are complete nonsense. Just treat the other like a real person and not like the personification of all the cliches that have ever existed about men or women.

If you didn't have the best examples growing up, simply do not follow them. Decide to break those patterns and choose new ones for your own life. Drop what does not serve you or your set of values.

4. Be honest

Let's face it, communication is key for any relationship. Honest conversations about the past, present, and future are extremely important. I understand that the past is in the past, but let your partner know where are you coming from and be open to know more about the person you are with. Hopefully, you will have the rest of your lives to deal with the practicalities of life so do not be afraid to stop for a moment and engage in deep conversations.

If you like something, speak up. If you don't, speak up as well. Do that from a place of love and enjoy the wonders of being in a healthy and loving relationship.

When you speak up about something, check yourself first. Ego gets in the way so many times and it leads us to unnecessary struggles with our dearest ones.

Honesty must be towards yourself as well. Stay true to yourself and trust your gut and judgment (not your fear of getting into a relationship and getting hurt! I know you know what I'm talking about ...). Be honest about your needs, about how you are feeling, and don't bury feelings away. When you are true to yourself, it is easier to be true to others.

5. Allow it

That's where I always got stuck (Not anymore!). I used to ask for things but at the core, I did not think that I deserved it. So even if they would come to me I'd be looking in the opposite direction or worse: sabotaging myself. Then I realized what I was doing and changed this crazy pattern with TONS of action, more towards self-love.

So... allow good things to come into your life. We all deserve to be happy. Do you have a wonderful person in front of you? Enjoy it, appreciate it, embrace it, love it. No trick and no melodrama is waiting for you. We are the ones who create all those things. Sh#t happens? Oh yeah, it does, but why do you have to be the one to make it happen?

Be happy now. Enjoy the moment. Let bliss come to you and savor it, but savor it well because you do deserve it. Don't forget to put yourself out there. All these things that you have been hiding with the fear of getting hurt, allow them to come outside. I'm sure your partner (or a future one) will appreciate it.

Love and light,



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