Love like you’ve been hurt.
Love like you’ve been let down, seen the other side of passion, come to understand that what can swell and expand and enlighten can also break down, fall to pieces, and destruct. Love like you know it isn’t magic. That what can begin can also end, and that loving someone else is never going to be without that risk.
Love like you have been hopeless – like you have doubted love would ever come back to you, that your heart would ever heal, that passion and sincerity and mutual intoxication would ever be something you would get to hold inside your heart. Love like you’ve spent a lifetime working on yourself outside of love, because you know that you’re the only person who will ever make you whole.
Love like you are braver now. Love like you’re more compassionate. Love in a way that shows you understand other people have limits and issues and that you are not exempt from their overflow. Love in a way that knows that even the best of people are going to fuck up and let you down and be entirely fallible and it’s possible to keep loving them anyway. Love in a way that shows forgiveness where it is deserved.
Love as though you’ve watched everything that you once wanted slip between your fingers and you remember what it felt like when it all crumbled apart. Love like someone who understands that it takes work to keep love alive. And you are somebody, now, who is willing to put in that work.
Love like you have been broken. Like your delusions have been crushed and your dreams have come undone and you have feared that you will never make it back to a place of trust and peace. Love like you know the deepest, murkiest, muddiest corners of love and you aren’t afraid to go there again. Love like you know that it is worth it.
Because it is.
Because now, more than ever, you understand that love is not a miracle. It’s not a mirage. It’s not a drug that you’re allowed to get hooked on and bleed another person dry from, always trying to get your next fix.
Love like you are patient. Like you’re kinder. Like you’re calmer and older and more understanding of what it takes to keep love alive in a world that does everything it possibly can to tear people apart from each other.
Love like you’ve been deeply, irreparably hurt.
Because you’ll be a better lover for it.
Because once you’ve been hurt, you know that it can happen again. That it may even be likely to. That your life is not a fairytale and your lover is not a God and that the decision to devote yourself to someone is inherently laden with risk.
And yet you’re willing to take that risk anyway.
Because you are not falling in love this time, so much as you are walking headfirst into it. Choosing it. Accepting all the risk and the unknowns and deciding that it is worth it anyway.
Because that kind of love is ferocious.
And it makes each heartbreak before it worthwhile.