They’re not here to take over your story. They’re not here to strip you of the individuality that you worked so hard for. They are not the thing that is finally going to make you whole, the thing that is finally going to make you good enough, the thing that is finally going to give you purpose. They are not here to turn you into a shadow, to swallow you into their orbit instead of letting you spin around your own universe.
It makes sense to be wary of opening up your life completely to another person. We put so much work into understanding ourselves, to figuring out who we are and what kind of lens we want to use to look at the world, that the idea of committing ourselves fully to another person sometimes feels like we’re being forced to give up the very sense of self that we fought so hard to get.
But that’s not what real love is. It’s not about saying goodbye to yourself and becoming a couple instead of a person. It doesn’t mean that your only identity now is wife or husband or girlfriend or boyfriend. It is not a farewell to the exciting and adventurous life you once had and a hello to your new, stale, domestic existence. It is not an end to your search for the reason why you are on this earth – it doesn’t even have to be a pause in the search at all.
What real love is is a chance to write someone into your story, for them to write you into theirs, and for the two of you to work on something together that will be a beautiful combination of your individual parts. Real love is your chance to continue to find yourself, to continue to explore the world you’ve been placed into, to figure out why you’re here and what you can do to make everything a little better before you leave – but with someone standing next to you, always wanting more for you and always doing everything they can to keep you safe and happy. Someone who will hold you when things are dark, someone who will make your smile a little brighter, someone who loves you enough to tell you when you’re holding yourself back or chickening out or failing to go after what you know you truly want. Someone who takes you outside of yourself and shows you exactly how capable your heart is of loving another person, how instinctive it is to put someone else’s life and safety above your own. Someone who shows you how much more love matters to you at the end of the day, more than your job or your bank account or your social standing. Someone who will lead you to some very hard choices down the line, but who will ultimately show you how little power that wealth and status actually have over you, if it ever comes down to a choice between one of those things and love.
Find this person. The one who will be all of this for you. The one who you want to be all of this for. Be more you than you’ve ever been in your life. Open up to them. Show them your scars and the sides of yourself that you find ugly. Tell them what scares you, tell them what intimidates you, tell them what it is about you that makes you feel the most insecure. Do the same for them. Love them endlessly, unconditionally – always in the beautiful moments but especially in the ugly ones.
You’ll soon realize that they are not shrinking you at all. They are not taking away from you, or erasing your sense of who you are, or turning you into a soul that only exists as part of a relationship instead of on its own. Rather, they are only making everything brighter, easier to see. Grabbing your hand while you’re taking huge leaps, steadying you as you trudge through unfamiliar territory. They are not writing your story for you. They are writing it with you, giving you the chance to twine your path with theirs, so that everything is twice as interesting, twice as thrilling, twice as challenging, twice as incredible. Twice as everything.