I’ve been single all my life.
Here’s the thing, though: I haven’t been single because I don’t believe in love. Quite on the contrary – those who know me will tell you, I’m incredibly sappy, overly-sensitive, idealistic to a fault, and romantic to the marrow of my bones. I fall often, and I fall hard. In all honesty, I’m too much of a believer.
It makes for a very dull dating life.
These days, we’re so afraid of being hurt, we layer cynicism on like bad foundation. No one wants to be too much, to be perceived as too emotional or too irrational. Marianne Dashwood had a hard time back when Jane Austen wrote her – if she were to come to the modern day, she would have been torn to shreds. It’s all about being the cool girl now, the one who is never ruffled, the one who never brings drama…
We’re so afraid or being hurt, of losing face, of appearing uncool, we put up with whatever. We end up making our needs invisible; we end up being less-than. We think what we want is somehow shameful, and that we have got no right to ask for it.
But there’s nothing shameful about being the one who believes in love.
You don’t have to weave flower garlands, scream it from the rooftops, or get into people’s faces about whether or not they’re looking after their soul-garden. All you have to do – literally, all of it – is letting your actions match your words.
When you believe in love, you treat yourself and others with equal respect. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are at with your individual journeys – you know that to be human is to be flawed, and you can have empathy with others, even if you do not understand each other’s choices. To believe in love is to be kind.
When you believe in love, you’re okay with giving, even if it sometimes feels lonely. You understand that holding back and holding off is serving no-one. You cannot control what others do with what you give them, but that doesn’t stop you from offering it nonetheless. To believe in love is to be generous.
When you believe in love, you look for relationships that nourish your soul. Not all the ones you have will be exactly what you need, but you will nonetheless yearn for them. Eventually, those will be the ones you hold out for. To believe in love is to be patient.
If all that sounds terribly serious, it’s because… well… it kind of is.
Being the one who believes in love means to see people as they are; to take them seriously, even if (and especially when) they refuse to do that for themselves. It means looking past the cynicism and the urge to just use-use-use. It means taking the long view, even if there is a more short-term, easy solution. It means saying the hard truth, and even – on some occasions – it means being the one to walk away.
What a buzzkill, right? It’s so much easier to roll your eyes, shroud yourself with irony and plausible deniability, and carry on as before.
Resist the temptation.
Believe in love.
It’s not a finite resource. It’s a self-replenishing feast, and you can access it at any time. Let the cynical stay hungry – when they’re ready, you’ll set a space on the table.