Amy Rees Anderson

To Love or Not to Love, That is the Question

Loving someone can be scary.  Scary because if you don’t love at all then in theory you will never get hurt.  How can you be hurt if you didn’t care to begin with?  And so some people take on the mindset that they are better off alone then to put their heart out there and risk having it broken.  I actually remember feeling that way myself, once upon a time.  After going through a divorce at a fairly young age I remember that it took a really long time to get over the feelings of hurt that accompanied a divorce.  Then one day when I finally felt like I had reached the point of being over the hurt I felt a huge hesitation to ever put myself into a situation where anyone would matter to me enough that they could hurt me that deeply again.  Not that it was fun to be alone, but at least being alone I knew what to expect and I knew I could cope with those feelings.  But if I were to venture my heart back out there again then I would be putting it in another situation where it could be hurt and the thought of taking the risk of being hurt again was far worse than the thought of just staying on my own.  And that was genuinely how I felt for many years.

I was so set on not needing anyone that I even recall pushing back when one guy I dated tried to help me carry in some groceries from my car.  I almost panicked when he started carrying them in for me and I told him thanks but I would handle it myself.  There was a part of me that was so afraid that if I let him help me then I would start relying on him and needing him and I did NOT want to let that happen.  I was just fine all on my own, thank you.  And I was petrified to let anyone make me feel not fine on my own, so I became super independent at taking care of things myself.

It took a really long time and the help of a great counselor (which by the way I highly recommend to everyone out there…a good counselor can change your life for the better in so many ways, so never hesitate to go to one if you want to improve yourself…it is awesome!) for me to finally get to the point where I realized that in order for me to fall in love and have a good relationship I was going to have to be willing to be vulnerable again.  I was going to have to open my heart up.  And either someone would squash it to bits again, or someone could love me unconditionally and there was no telling which would happen.   But by not taking the risk I was guaranteeing a life alone, and at least by taking the risk there would be the chance of something amazing.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”  -CS Lewis

No doubt it is scary to love someone with your entire soul because by you loving them that much they can most definitely break your heart into a million pieces.  But you have to remember that in the end if they do break your heart it doesn’t diminish who you are, not one bit.  You will still be amazing, even if they hurt you. Is it fun to get hurt? No.  But is it fun to never open yourself up to loving someone? Nope.  And so we must take the risk.  All I can advise is that you go into it with the best of intentions and love the best you can.  Then if they hurt you at least you can walk away knowing you did your best and that you are still someone you can be proud of being.

No matter how you have been hurt in the past, never give up on finding love.  It’s never going to be easy, in fact the strongest relationships are typically the ones who have weathered the worst storms and made it through.  But in the end if you are lucky you will get to be with someone who loves you as much as you love them, even when you are both 90 and your hair is falling out and your teeth already have, and you still look at each other and think the other is the most beautiful person in the world.  Here’s hoping that for all of us!

~Amy

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