One of the hardest lessons we learn in life is that sometimes love is not enough. Your love for your parents may not hold them together. Your love for your friends doesn’t mean they will stay forever. Your love for your partner doesn’t mean all arguments can be resolved.
When we are hit with this devastating realization, we may begin to doubt ourselves and question if it’s all really worth it. There will inevitably be circumstances and obstacles beyond our control that make it hard to give and receive love, but don’t run from love and all the growth that comes with it. Yes, it can be painful to love and lose, but your heart will prosper from all the experiences you gather.
Accept that not all love lasts and love anyway. We rarely know anything with certainty about our lives. People change, as well as our perceptions of them and ourselves. The friend you’ve known since birth may pursue a different path without you, or five years into a relationship, you may realize the person you thought was the one isn’t who you want to be with anymore. We cannot control the actions of others, meaning we may be unexpectedly hurt by those we love, but as scary as that is, the best thing we can do is to love with the acceptance that it may not last. When we recognize that there may be an end, we stop taking those in our life for granted. We are able to better cherish our loves because even though we know it may not last and may not always be perfect, we can maintain our gratitude for those we care about.
We may love the wrong people, but don’t regret loving in the first place. Your love has strength. It can make others feel special and valued, and it allows you to open up to others. Our love isn’t any less valid just because it didn’t last. Heartache is an intertwined risk of love. You may look back on your life and regret investing your time in people or things that weren’t for us, but know that it all has purpose. You are who you are now because you survived misfortunes and heartbreaks, and in the process, you made someone feel treasured.
Don’t numb yourself to love. To look at someone you love so dearly and say goodbye will always hurt. You may feel foolish for letting yourself love so fully, but when you face pain or loss, appreciate your capacity for love. There will be times when you want to close yourself off. Maybe you resent love for trapping you with a cheating partner, an absent parent, or a dismissive friend. Opening up to love may make you a target for heartbreak, but it strengthens your hope for happiness. When you attempt to numb yourself to the pain, the passionate rush and comforting warmth of love also dulls. Pain is a part of life, and when you try to avoid it, you miss out on the exciting highs that make life thrilling.
Strive for self-love. Your love may sometimes not be enough for others, but that doesn’t mean you are not enough. Admire your ability to give love so selflessly, and don’t be too hard on yourself when love hurts you. Not everyone is deserving of your love, but the fact that you give it only exemplifies the kindness in your heart. Embrace your capacity for understanding and give yourself more credit. The love you give to others may not always bring you the results you hope for—a perfect, unbroken family or a partner that will never leave—but if you grow to love yourself, that will be more than enough to find fulfillment and happiness.