What determines whether or not this happens involves a degree of willingness and openness on your (the recipients) end for such to be possible in the first place, along with the semi randomness of chance with regards to whom we meet and then choose to love (because yes, love is a choice. Sure, we cannot choose to whom we feel initial flickers of attraction. But coming to love someone is a huge, involved process that takes place over time/hundreds of hours/many months and thus, is an active choosing into which we decide to move towards-or not).
I slightly digressed there for a moment. So. The power of any love we meet for the potential of shifting our individual world on its axis exists in both endless small ways, as well as in many huge ones. Some of which can and will be conscious, other of which will be unconscious. Important side note: this power to shift us in monumental ways goes for both romantic loves as well as platonic, familial, even cross species love (as with a beloved pet). Love is love. The hinge point or defining factor I am referring to as in the power of love to alter our whole path (as well as personal being) lies not in the love being of the romantic type. As though romantic love were the pinnacle, top most, golden standard of all loves. Instead, the life changing power lies not in the type of love, but in the depth of feelings, bravery, timing, and closeness in that particular connection.
So, onward into the nuances of how poignant loves can and often do change our worlds as we know them.
First loves. These open an entryway and usher us through, into a novel room to which we had never visited nor stepped through its doorway prior. First love can and often is a litany of lessons. Some beautiful, heart rending, awe inducing, others heart wrenching and soul wrecking, a few even directly contradictory and at odds with one another.
We learn what that adrenaline fueled, high speed, butterfly laden sensation that perfumes and saturates the air of movies, television, and stories abound is waxing poetic about. Finally coming to understand ourselves just what all the hype is. No way is it overrated, we find ourselves vouching for and internally shouting from the rooftops (or, maybe for some, even externally). Thrilling, titillating, buoyant, electricity and buzzing limbs and chest abound. We experience that heart rending awkwardness of sex with someone whom we actually have feelings for.
First love is chock full of lessons learned the hard way. Communication short circuited and failures. Personality traits and behaviors we thought we could/should/would compromise on in that initial love, which we learn via the trajectory of that very relationship we probably shouldn't have. First loves can teach us how to trust. They can also usher in our first experience of what it feels like to have your heart detonated. Crushed by the steamroller of reality that encompasses incompatibility, disillusioned idealism shattered, the fullness of complications that love can hand over for which we were not even close to prepared. Because, as in the moves and books, we are continually assured "love is all you need," right? Not quite. And nowhere else do we learn this with such solidarity than in first love.
First loves offer a glimpse, for many even a delicious dive, into the depths of intensity, wonder, and awe that love can entail. This relationship gives us that tantalizing taste of all the wonder and heart swelling awe that can be experienced and navigated within a close connection to another person.
Yet, while first loves tend toward offering a taste of what you want, simultaneously they usually deliver the heavy handed lesson and, often with the sensation of being hit hard over the head with it, of what you dont.
First love can be akin to stumbling through the dark with a lit match. Reaching out and happening on treasures along the fairly blinded way and exploration involved in that first relationship, as well as grasping things that seem promising or positive in the time and moment, only to realize eventually that actually, they might be much the opposite.
Often times though (granted, of course not always), and is this something most of us dont learn until years later, first love is more a mirage of love. Not to say it isn't love. Many times, it is. Its just a different shade of love, tending towards more along the lines of something like a baby love, which years later down the road of life, we realize paled in comparison to the love we would later come to build and experience. First love, while poignant and important, while unique in its own beautiful right, is the training wheels of love. That first love tends to be more an infusion of lust, passion, dependence, hopeful delusion, wonder, joy, and deep caring.
Authentic, mature, open, communicative, brave, healthy, soul love is, more often than not, what comes miles later down the road of life. Several chapters tending to follow that first one. Coming with further experience and chapters written, much more character growth, personal learning under ones belt (via books, articles, the wisdom of other people, and just more life experience in general).
First love gets all the weight in movies and literature. Touted as being the "most magic, memorable, and powerful" of experiences with regards to love. I want to push back on that a bit though. Dont get me wrong, first love is big. Its powerful. Like a lightening bolt through the sky of ones life where never before had lightening struck. However, for most (though of course, not all), for the majority of people, their most resonating, life affirming, healthy, and soul moving loves follow that initial one.
For most, the great love happens further on down the road.
There are a rare few for whom this isn't the case, who build an awesome and resonating connection with their first deep love, and that's just as beautiful and awesome. For most though, we tend to grow into the best partner we can be via years and years of experience, which tends to involve more than one love.
Spring boarding off the foundation lain by first loves (and this involves not just first romance, it includes emotionally deep/close friend connections, as well as early powerful connections of other types who left their mark on our heart. These can be a sibling relationship, a teacher you had, a pet in your life, a mentor/counselor who was part of your story), the loves that cross our path later on when we are more formed, grown, experienced individuals can be the winds that blows our weathervane East where prior, it pointed West.
That first love(s) akin to our watching and experiencing the opening act of a play and assuming that to be "the way it is," only to have the curtains go up for scene two (aka those further loves to follow coming into the picture) which drop our jaws with the plot turns they initiate-which we never saw coming, and open our minds and hearts with the alternate insights/lessons they bring with them, shifting and altering everything we thought we knew to be true of love prior.
First love is the earths crust. The surface. Incredibly important, to be sure, as its that first surface on which you try out those sea legs. Loves to come after though (both romantic and platonic) are the mantle, and the outer and inner cores.
These loves can and will debunk myths learned mistakenly believed in that first relational experience. These loves hold up a mirror to those initial loves. Prompting your looking back and seeing much of your previous experiences with new eyes. Ways in which you thought something was one way, and now see that actually, it was another. Mistakes you may have made which were previously downplayed or misplaced. Things you let go in past relationships, which now you know that you shouldn't have. Ways in which each of you may have misstepped in those initial relational experiences, as well as awe inspiring lessons learned.
First loves are those initial swipes of brilliant color, painted across your canvas. The loves that follow are further lines, shapes, and shades which actualize as you continue painting, bringing together the painting as a whole. Filling in the empty spaces, changes to images you thought might become one thing which, now on looking closer, you see are actually shifting and evolving into something totally different, though just as breath taking. More often than not, even more so.
All of these poignant connections, interconnected on a seemingly invisible string. When, looking back, you can now see endings which at the time, may have been devastating, as what are now clearly the best possible thing to have happened. On reflection, you see a sprinkling of meaningful coincidences, things that happened which-had they not, you wouldn't be where you are now and with whom. Lessons learned along the way which at the time, seemed to be one message that now you can see are an entirely other message/lesson after all.
Then, as a side note to touch upon (though connected but slightly different topic), there are the soul mate relationships of our lives. Some people never experience this type of connection with another person- usually due to initially settling in one degree or another too quickly. Others dont experience the soul mate connection with someone because they dont chose to open or stretch themselves to the emotional edges that are required of such a relationship depth. And many will not experience the soul mate connection because they stay in the same relationship long past, what in the deepest depth of their hearts they know, is the expiration point. Because they are too scared, too dependent, too stuck in habit or comfort to go.
Some relationships are meant to be brief, others are meant to last 6 years, while another may be meant to last 15. Some might be meant to last less than a year, while another might be meant to last 9, or 17. You get the idea. And then a small subset of relationships encompass enough growth, openness, deep connection, honesty, maturity, and continual shifting between the two people to healthfully and truthfully be meant to last a lifetime- though first, both people have to make it so, and secondly, they need to be a good match generally in the first place.
Some relationships entail bends in the road, while others involve hills and mountains. Whether or not you will have a soul mate like relationship with someone you love? You can read about both, how to find that, how to know if thats something you have, as well as how to go about creating such a connection, in this article.
And, one more, with the 9 ways to know if its a soulmate relationship.
Back to the overall premise though, of the power behind such, as well as the foundation of first loves, as well as the equally (and often times, even more so) world tilting power of the loves to come. As long as one is bravely and honestly listening to their own heart (and not holding back or ignoring what their heart is saying out of fear, laziness, or comfort-which a lot of people do, resulting in staying stuck in relationships which no longer fit or are not longer good for us), then you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
For a smaller subset of people, that may be with an enduring first love. For the vast majority, it will not be. It will be with someone different, who is hopefully a better fit whom they have chosen out of previous experiences lessons learned. Both are OK, and completely awesome.
For the vast majority of people, there will be a handful of powerful loves in their life. For some it may be two, for others it will be three, for some it may be four or five. For a smaller subset of others, it might be a couple more than that.
The key though is in listening to your heart, not ignoring what its telling you along the way. Even at times when it may be hard, when it may involve letting go, even when it may be deeply painful. As long as you are listening to and following your heart with authenticity and truth, then you are exactly where you are supposed to be, and with the very person with whom you are supposed to be.
This includes a compilation of those first loves, each of whom paved the way in the beginning, followed by the path of your relational life and experiences since, all of this having led to whom you are with now. Each poignant love in your life having the power to shift, alter, and tilt your world as you know it. As long as your heart is open to such, your chose the people you love carefully, with eyes wide open, and you enter loving bravely, fully, with your whole heart and soul.