It seems counterintuitive, the idea that we should seek the pain and hurt and anguish that comes with heartbreak. That we need dashed hopes and shattered dreams and all of the reconfiguring that comes with re-structuring a life without someone. But it’s really a matter of the fact that we never want these things, though we often need them. Because you can’t recognize good until you’re acquainted with the alternative. Because the most radical transformations usually happen after you’ve had your heart shaken up.
The lows and the highs come part and parcel with loving someone. That’s just a fact of life. And the first few times you give someone your heart, even though you’re still just learning how to give a heart to begin with, you’ll have it returned in various stages of disrepair. Some people sink their teeth in, some people tear it to shreds, some people are just careless and let it bruise and wither on its own. And wrapped up inside our hearts, there resides something that takes on these mythic properties of our emotions and minds and vulnerable spots, and they are the things that make us wary, that make us fearful, that warn us that maybe we shouldn’t give our hearts away again so freely.
Few people would call it “good,” getting their heart broken, but some would. And those people are the ones who understand that the ends far outweigh the means of feeling a little sore now and again. That what you gain from grieving and what you lose from being cracked open is what matters more than a relationship does. Because the heartbreak is proof that you cared. That in the sea of people who are so hellbent on proving that nothing and nobody will ever get to them, you called bluff. That you were brave enough to care. You were brave enough to love.
Maybe the good is what you find when you get lost. Maybe the good is what you find on your way back. Maybe the good is learning to stitch ourselves back together, learning about ourselves and how we deal with disappointment and what all those shattered dreams meant to us and why. Maybe the good is what we offered up when we were opened, when we tried to give something unequivocally and had it rejected. Maybe that was our fault, we lament, and we reason and try to find the reasons why. (Maybe it’s not our fault. Sometimes, quite simply, there was nothing else we could do.) Maybe it’s learning to cope, or seeing which friends to run to, which are the ones who will just sit and listen and be okay with you needing to list out more “what ifs,” which ones help distract you, which ones don’t judge you because they’ve been there, too. Maybe it’s learning to grieve, or maybe it’s learning what’s worth grieving over.
You learn how to pick the pieces back up and rearrange them into something a little sturdier, a little wiser, a little more experienced in the art of loving someone. You might be missing some pieces in the rebuilding of your broken heart. Not everyone gives back all of the pieces of the hearts they’ve broken, and that’s okay. Those little gaps and cracks and windows are there so that other people can find their way in, and fill those hearts they find with their hearts. Those broken marks, refilled with something new and wonderful and different, help remind you that however scary it might be to love again, it’s an endeavor and a risk that is always worth taking.
And you learn that when someone else gives you their heart, you ought to be careful with it, because love is a fragile thing, and you know firsthand that you shouldn’t needlessly smash up someone else’s hopes in the sake of finding the kind of love that is worth risking heartbreak.