I love talking about love, in case you haven’t already figured that out.
I always imagined my love life would unfold easily. It would be something I could see coming, would prepare for, and be ready. My relationships with the guys that I dated would be deep and full. When I was younger, I pictured myself with a serious high school boyfriend. Then would probably enjoy a couple years of singleness – going on fun dates with quality people. While still in my early-ish twenties, I would meet “the one” and we would get to grow up together and then grow old. It was so simple, fun, and easy.
Now that I look at that, I’ve actually hit two of the three steps in that process. Well…kind of. My years of singleness have been fun…but they’ve also been pretty…interesting. I’ve met some characters, to say the least, over the past three years of true singleness. That’s a post for another time – trust me, you’ll want to hear it some day.
As of recent, I’ve been in a huge time of reflection. This past semester brought a new emotional distress unlike anything I’ve experienced before. So naturally, in my time of healing, I randomly found myself encounter someone new.
I was excited, but truly scared. I found comfort by myself, with my heart closed up. Not that I enjoy shallow situations, but I had grown accustomed to lackluster dating tales. When this individual showed compassion, it was new and spooked me.
Just an hour or so before our first night, my anxiety began to get the best of me. To try to calm myself down, I began to draw. It was a wave, filled with all the empty goodbyes, meaningful moments that are now ignored, and the disappointments of failed attempts, hovering above me, right before it would crash down.
Breakups hurt, saying goodbyes are hard, and ending something you know isn’t the best for you is brutal. When you daydream (even if you’re in a relationship) about how your love life will pan out, you may not consider the ugly parts.
That’s the tricky thing with vulnerability.
Being vulnerable can allow you to reach your highest highs, but can drag you down in the lowest lows right after. Greeting these low points with the same feeling of running into people back in your home town. “Oh hi…I won’t admit it but I had hoped to never see you again.” Allow yourself to hurt for a while and work your way back to being okay again. When you least expect it, the opportunity to open up again will come. Will you go for it, with excitement for what could come? Or will you stay away, fearing that ache in your gut you barely made it out of?
You’ll never know the kind of person that will seep through the cracks of the heart you’ve been piecing back together since the last time. You won’t know when it will happen, where, who, how, and why. But what you can know, is that there will be something to take away. Don’t be afraid to hurt, because the ride and the experience is all part of the plan. One day, it will all make sense. (At least that’s what I hear.)
All that you can control is the quality of the person you let in. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. If you have more fun taking yourself out to a fun lunch with your favorite book than you do seeing the person you’re dating, that’s important.
Awareness of your heart is critical to making it out alive in the realm of dating. We may not be able to always control it, but we can control how we treat ourselves. Start with vulnerability with yourself, finding where you need extra love and where you thrive alone. When the time comes and you find someone oh so worthy of your irreplaceable love, remember you are deserving and ready.
The bad times are bad, but don’t let them stop you from finding the good. You’ll find it again, I promise. Watch who you let in, but also allow yourself to ride the waves out. You won’t know how it’ll happen unless you give it a shot.
(This isn’t meant to sound like a pity post or anything of that sort – more therapeutic for myself. Maybe this will help you as it did for me.)