THE BLOG
04/03/2013 04:28 pm ET | Updated Jun 03, 2013

The Parking Lot of Love

A friend of mine recently told me an analogy of love which I have used rather often recently when talking to numerous friends. He said each of us have a parking lot, and in that parking lot, is one "handicapped spot" for that special person. It had me thinking about love, and how different people have different capacities for maintaining friendships, relationships and "acquaintanceships." Some people have smaller parking lots. They are private people who do not like to open up easily, they can be the friendliest of people but choose selectively who they allow to park in their spots. Others have large parking lots, cars going in and out all the time, maintaining hundreds of relationships at once, getting deep fast. Neither is wrong or right, it just is.

As I continued to over-analyze this analogy as I do with most things, I started thinking about what happens when you force someone or allow someone to park in the handicapped spot illegally. There are no cops coming to patrol, (parents and friends can try), but it is only you who can create the boundaries necessary for such situations. Maybe someone has a scooter and without asking parks directly on the line of the handicapped spot, taking up just enough room where no one else can park there, but not wanting to actually be the one to park there permanently; in this case it's better to keep the scooter at a spot farther away, creating the boundaries necessary for that individual, knowing they may try to cross over without your permission every so often. Other times, you may have people who have you in a spot closer to their heart, when in reality you don't feel the same closeness to that person. Even more so, different people have different understandings and meaning of the same words. A best friend to one person may mean something entirely different to another person. This is why its so important to recognize that love is not transactional, and that you can love someone unconditionally without resenting them for not having the same type of love in return. At the same time, while love is boundless, it is so important to know yourself, know your boundaries and be clear with yourself so you can maintain that prime real estate around your heart and a little something called your self worth.

I do believe there's someone for everyone, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized while love is not transactional it sometimes can turn ugly and into hatred when you do not create the boundaries necessary for you to love yourself. If you let someone force themselves into your handicapped spot, it will handicap you. I realized I actually don't consider this spot empty; instead, I consider it an open spot, a spot for you to love yourself, take care of yourself and when the right car comes, you will know when it's time to step out of your own way and let someone in.

For more by Amanda Slavin, click here.

For more on wisdom, click here.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.