It only seemed appropriate to chronicle some of them in the hopes that we, too, may become better navigators of human connection.
1. No Games Allowed
I don't think any of us saw that little bombshell that Ryan had a history of manipulating the competition coming, but the fact that it contributed significantly to the outcome of his situation highlights why playing games like that in any relationship can be dangerous to begin with.
Long story short---when you play a game only one person can win. In matters of the heart, it means whoever loses is left with a broken one. Therefore, always endeavor to engage in relationships with pure motives.
2. Not communicating is NOT an option, and when you do choose to communicate, be unmistakably clear.
Both Shane and Oliver, and Ryan and Maddie, taught us that being able to "work" or "skate" together is half the battle. But the moment conflict arose, the resolution of which could only be achieved through good, honest, thorough communication, both pairs started to spiral.
Where Norman and Rita stopped the spiral before it had a real chance to begin, Shane and Oliver almost let it hit the point of no return as their insecurities consumed more and more of their actions and perceptions.
Granted, Oliver did try and address the situation, but he talked around it by calling Shane out on her perceived lie rather than being unmistakably clear about the fact he had sent her a valentine, or, even better, simply asking her out right then and there.
Shane and Oliver are truly blessed that everything worked out in the end, as Ryan and Maddie taught us that not everything does. The lesson, then, is that we should seek to see communication as an opportunity to deepen our relationships with other people rather than as something scary to avoid. We can "work" together or be great friends all we want, but if we can't talk about important things how do you expect the relationship to deepen? Is it really even a relationship at all?
3. Beware of past hurts impacting your present happiness.
We spent an in-depth post talking about the slew of insecurities, prompted by past experiences, that jeopardized Shane and Oliver's relationship. We even caught on to a deep wound that might have driven Norman's response to Rita's press conference remarks on similar grounds.
Even Ryan admitted in his letter to Maddie that "it made [him] so angry to [think] she couldn't see" the change in him since they met, an insecurity the roots of which were sown long before they ever met, but clearly drove the actions to follow.
The bumps and bruises we experience in life aren't meant to keep us from ever feeling their effects again, but they are meant to make us smarter in the future and more sensitive to the hurts of others, and we would all do well to remember that.
4. Valentine's Day is just a day. The magic of ordinary days is really where it's at.
While I really enjoyed Shane's angst about the holiday considering it spanned every stereotype regarding the holiday I could have ever felt as a woman, it does remind us that Valentine's Day--and any other holiday, for that matter---are just a number on the calendar that only hold as much meaning as we allow them to have. There are 364.35 more just like them every year if you are blessed enough to welcome them, guess where the odds are favored?
5. Life is short.
A poignant message in the Pilot, the fate of the homeless man, as well as the story of Ann and Abe, reinforce that we only have so much time here on the planet, and each second is precious. As a result, we should spend as much of it as possible saying what we mean, and saying it to those who matter most to us. None of us are promised tomorrow, and that chance to say it "next time I see them" may never come. That's the lesson, plain and simple.
From The Heart certainly gave us a lot to ponder regarding relationships past, present and future. One can only hope that taking these lessons to heart will allow us to learn, grow and love each other better.
Educating The People (And Herself),