An Open Letter To Growing In Love

I’m someone who falls in love easily; not only with people, but with places, feelings, experiences. I find love all around me; in the night sky, in mountains and rivers and trees, in art, in music, in bird songs, in communities, on my yoga mat, and everywhere in between. I live and long to know, experience, and express the depth of love in its limitless capacity to transform, heal, and inspire.

I’ve struggled immensely in the past with love and dating: abandoning my love of art in an attempt to feel love from other people; seeking the pleasure of newness like a drug, attempting to hide from the inevitable pain and discomfort that’s inherent for anyone choosing to navigate the road less traveled, which, I think, can feel particularly challenging for artists, poets, and dreamers.

At 34, I’ve learned that my inability to detach physical intimacy from love has been a point of confusion in dating, and it’s where I’ve run into a lot of trouble in the past. For years, I’d enter into relationships on the defense, without fully understanding where my discomfort was coming from, or what I was even fighting for. In retrospect, I can see how all this time, I’d been fighting for the truth in my heart; I’d been fighting for love.

My struggle in failed relationships has taught me that in order for a relationship to thrive at its full capacity, I need to be gentle and generous in allowing time and space for a foundation of trust to take root. I don’t need to rush growth. This goes against the grain of what I’ve experienced not only in the dating culture, but in society at large.

I’ve also learned that even though it’s far easier to hide out in a new relationship than it is for me to face a blank canvas, I need to remind myself that the fear I feel when I stare at that canvas is temporary, and every time I choose the canvas, I choose myself. The more I choose myself, the greater my resiliency, the stronger my heart becomes, the more I’m able to radiate love into the world.

I believe that sharing this letter is a way of drawing me closer to that transformative intersection of self-love, and love for another. I feel that sharing this message not only reinforces my own intentions, but can help others committed to navigating the path of the heart.

About the author
Living out the dreams of my 8-year old self! Follow Joanna on Instagram or read more articles from Joanna on Thought Catalog.

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