This Valentine’s Day, I am thinking about the benefits of female education and how my training has enabled me to healthy love.
In developing countries, such as her in South Africa, it can be difficult for women to obtain an education. But for all women, school is a powerful tool for loving ourselves and making better choices.
Loving myself has enabled me to be a better partner with my husband, who I love and adore. Education has allowed me to make a living and fully participate equally in my family. Schooling has offered me security beyond the confidence I feel being married to my beloved.
If you ask me on this Valentine’s Day, what the most important task you can do to make your big dream come true, even if your big goal today is to fall in love, then I would tell you to obtain an education. Knowledge is a form of self-love that will multiply outward in your life. Studies have shown that education is predictive of higher life satisfaction for women.
I believe that real love means to learn, to expand yourself and to grow.
You must not be afraid to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things. Stop resisting becoming more before you settle down with someone you love. If you choose to fall in love before you have developed yourself, like with a solid education, you will forever turn to your partner to create a life and make you happy. Your happiness is a lot for one person to carry.
Ignoring your personal growth leaves you with a sense of co-dependence on your partner where you feel powerless.
Love should be beautiful. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by love. Love fuels my soul, there’s no denying this, but I don’t expect my husband and our daughter to make me whole. I expect them to support me and my big dreams, just as I support their dreams, but they cannot do the work that I have been called to do. They are my first dream-come-true in their own right, but by dreaming big myself, I can take this lovely life we live and expand upon it.
Because my successful dream becomes my family’s fruitful life and the other way around.
Love begins with knowing who you are and growing your abilities before you fall in love and settle into family life.
When you love yourself and feel accomplished, you will recognize the right kind of love when it shows up in your life. Personal success will help you understand if the love you see is the right love for you. Real love takes time, and it’s built on knowing what love is from a place of empowerment.
Education can be a healthy addition to a full and loving relationship. Your potential partner should support your educational pursuits. If that person doesn’t, you should rethink entering a long term relationship.
Understand what real love is versus the feeling of infatuation.
Many years ago, a respected American advice columnist wrote about how real love looks. Her name is Ann Landers, and this is what she wrote:
Is It Love or Infatuation?
Infatuation is fleeting desire–one set of glands calling to another. It is marked by a feeling of insecurity. You are excited and eager, but not genuinely happy. There are nagging doubts, unanswered questions, little bits and pieces about the relationship that you would just as soon not examine too closely. It might spoil the dream.
Love is a friendship that has caught fire. It takes root and grows, one day at a time. Love is a quiet understanding and mature acceptance of imperfection. It is real. It gives you strength and grows beyond you — to bolster your beloved. You are warmed by his/her presence, even when he/she is away. Miles do not separate you. You have so many wonderful films in your head that you keep replaying. But near or far, you know he/she is yours, and you can wait.
Infatuation says, “We must get married right away. I can’t risk losing him.” Love says, “Be patient. Don’t panic. Plan your future with confidence.”
Infatuation has an element of sexual excitement. Whenever you are together, you hope it will end in intimacy.
Love is not based on sex. It is the maturation of friendship that makes sex so much sweeter. You must be friends before you can be lovers.
Infatuation lacks confidence. When he’s away, you wonder if he’s unfaithful. Sometimes, you check.
Love means trust. You are calm, secure and unthreatened. He feels your trust, and it makes him even more trustworthy.
Infatuation might lead you to do things you will regret, but love never steers you in the wrong direction.
Love is elevating. It lifts you up. It makes you look up. It makes you better than you were before.
And just as it’s essential to learn and grow in life and your relationships, it’s also important to do the same for your big dream. Wishing for something is not the same as taking real action steps on your dream. Daydreaming about a different life is not working at your dream. Daydreaming and wishing is similar to infatuation when it comes to real success. No fairy Godmother is going to show up, wave a magic wand and make your dream come true. You must treat your dream as you would a dearest love and understand the difference between desire and genuine commitment.
I’ve taken Ann Lander’s Love or Infatuation article and re-worded it to address the difference between daydreaming and a real dream commitment.
Are you in love with the right dream?
Daydreaming is a fleeting desire–one set of wishes calling to another. It is marked by a feeling of insecurity. You are excited and eager, but not genuinely excited. There are nagging doubts about your abilities, unanswered questions, little bits and pieces about the daydream that you would just as soon not examine too closely. It might spoil the daydream.
A real dream is an idea that has caught fire. It takes root and grows, one day at a time. Your real passion has a quiet understanding and a mature acceptance of your imperfections. It is real. Your dream gives you strength and insists that you grow beyond where you currently are–and it bolsters your resolve. You are warmed by working on your dream, even when it’s difficult. Setbacks do not stop you. You have so many wonderful films in your head about your big dream that you keep replaying it over and over every chance you get. Now or in the future, you know this dream is a part of who you are, and you feel called to work on it.
Daydreaming says, “We must achieve this right away. I can’t risk failing!”
Your real dream says, “Be patient. Don’t panic. Plan your future with confidence.”
Daydreaming has an element of quick excitement. Whenever you are lost in thoughts, you have doubts.
A real dream is not based on hope. It is the realization that significant goals have to be achieved that makes your dream so much sweeter. You must change, educate yourself, and grow before you can achieve success.
Daydreaming lacks confidence. When you are not lost in magical thinking, you wonder if you are crazy. Sometimes, you engage in behaviors that distract you from your dream.
A real dream means you trust what you are being called to do. You are calm, secure and feel unthreatened. You believe in your abilities, and it makes your dream feel real.
Daydreaming might lead you to do things you will regret, but your real dream never steers you in the wrong direction.
The right dream is elevating. It lifts you. It makes you look up. It makes you better than you were before.
Making your big dream come true will require that you learn and educate yourself on the process and steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. It requires the same commitment a good loving relationship needs.
Spend Valentine’s day falling in love with you, look at education and how you are going to learn more to make your big dream come true. Discover what you are meant to do before you share your life with someone else. Explore your life purpose. Expand yourself beyond who you are currently.
Education is the key–to loving more thoroughly, to finding true love and to achieving your big dream.
Sue Faith Levy
Sue Levy is the founder of the South African Just Pursue It Blog and Inspirational Women Initiative. She’s a motivational writer and media designer, who is obsessed with everything inspirational with a hint of geek. She thrives on teaching women how to be brave and take big chances on themselves. You can find Sue on her Twitter page @Sue_Levy.
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