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As young girls who had never experienced love, it all seemed so simple. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Or as the elementary rhyme states, “first comes love, then comes marriage”…and well, you know the rest. But as we got older, that fairy tale dream is replaced with a mediocre reality.

Now, fast forward to womanhood where heartache, emotional baggage and other factors have crept up into the equation. Something that once seemed so simple, in fact, became complex. Between our mothers, aunts, friends and even our own experiences, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way about love that has altered our perspectives and changed our actions.

While I’m not claiming to be a ‘love expert’ (I’m sure my ex-boyfriend would concur) , I can offer a few lessons on love that I’ve learned and am still trying to practice. Although simple in context, these lessons are sometimes forgotten when in a relationship.

LOVE LESSON 1: Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt: While this popular quote from historical writer, Mark Twain sounds good, we know it is easier said than done. You’re probably thinking, Twain hasn’t had to endure lies, cheating and all the other things that prevent us from loving the way we should. If he had, he would know how difficult, and damn near impossible this can be.

But although difficult, it’s important to go into a new situation with a fresh heart. And if you’re still harboring negative feelings from your past, work on letting those go first.

LOVE LESSON 2: Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks: As women, especially black women, we have learned to be protective of our hearts. And why not? It’s only human nature to protect yourself. Still, don’t miss out on a good thing by having your guard pulled up so far over your head that you can’t even see real love. Let alone, experience it.

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