This Is Why Tough Love Is So Important

woman sitting in shadows
God & Man

I have always been fragile when it comes to love.

I have been soft, gentle, tender and easy.

Love in my eyes has always been a way to soothe, a way to heal, a way to comfort.

It’s why when I struggle with anything in life, I tend to give myself a break, because for the longest time I felt that’s what loving myself meant.

It meant that you can relax when things get overwhelming. It meant you can excuse yourself from a process of achieving something if you’re struggling or not focused enough.

The problem with this is that there have been times when relaxing turns to procrastinating and being excused from a project or a goal in order to care of myself, meant dismissing myself from it completely.

You start to use this soft, self-love as an excuse to push aside responsibilities or goals or plans in order to relieve yourself from the stress of it all.

But, that’s just how I love myself.

I give myself the benefit of the doubt. When I make mistakes, I accept them as a part of my journey and move on.

Lesson learned.

Love should mean accepting flaws and mistakes and giving second chances, right?

But then those second chances turn into thirds and fourths. All of these chances are given and it comes to a point when you can no longer use the excuse of “self-care” as another attempt to escape a problem, because these problems are piling up and you have yet to solve them.

These problems just aren’t going away, despite all this self-care you’ve been providing.

Despite all the love you have given, so fragile and sweet, you’re still not changing.

Instead of pushing through writer’s block, I shrug, put my pen down and accept that maybe I’m just not inspired enough. I don’t need the mental strain and I blame the world for not giving me the motivation needed to write a good piece.

It’s not the world’s job to convince us to do things. It’s not our friend’s responsibility to get us out of bed in the morning when we’re feeling down. As great as that soft, accepting, sweet, self-love is, I’ve noticed it hasn’t been the type of love that gets shit done.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times soft love is needed.

I went through years of depression so great and so deep, I had no other choice but to be soft in the love that I gave myself. It was my only way through the darkness. It was my only way to the self-acceptance I have now gained.

Soft love allows for acceptance. It sees where you are now and says this is okay.

While that kind of love may be gentle and kind and apologetic and accepting, it isn’t the kind of love that gets you moving on to the next step.

Soft love accepts where you are now, but tough love gets you to where you need to be.

While we can use this soft love to accept our faults and mistakes and missed opportunities, it is the tough love that convinces us to change them. It is tough love that moves us from one step to another. It is tough love that convinces you to look for new opportunities, instead of telling you to lay in bed and accept those ones that you missed.

I have achieved many things due to my soft heart and fragile touch, but this is nothing compared to the experience of a love with an edge. A love not only strong and powerful, but immensely overwhelming at times.

A love that tells me, even though I’m tired, to keep writing because my brain is filled with words and stories that I can’t risk losing to an extra hour of sleep.

A love that tells you to keep pushing forward, even when you’re doubting yourself. A love that convinces you things will be worth it in the end—that all the hard work you are doing now is leading you to your biggest dreams. Tough love kicks you out of bed in the morning, because it knows all that you’re going to accomplish throughout the day.

This is what will ultimately guide you through the path to your dreams and keep up your determination up even when things go wrong.

Tough love knows you can do better. It believes in you.

This might’ve been a love I couldn’t handle while being depressed, because just as the love I was giving to myself in attempt to heal—I too was in a fragile state. The importance in practicing both types of love is to determine when it is the right time to use one over the other.

Eventually you figure out the moments when you need to be soft and gentle, because there will always be times when you just can’t handle the world and need a break.

Eventually, you figure out the moments where you need to be tough and demanding, because you are just one extra push away from achieving greatness.

As lovely as it is to be soft, it’s also okay not to be. Don’t be afraid of getting tough and pushing yourself. Test your limits. You can handle it. You’re tough as fuck. TC mark

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