Love feels as though it should be the easiest thing in the world. And in the beginning, for the most part, it is. It is all smiles and butterflies, giddy excitement from a mere text message, daydreaming, uncontrollable grinning, a lightness in your step that definitely was not there before. It is bright, simple, and uncomplicated. But it doesn’t last that way forever. And it shouldn’t.
Love is hard. Love is scary. But most of all, love is painful. Because whether you experience a relationship that ends up breaking your heart, or you’re lucky enough to find someone with whom your love lasts a lifetime, there will always be hurt occurring in some way. Your heart will always be at risk, and the only way to protect it is to block yourself off from love all together (but which is, ultimately, the biggest loss you could ever cause yourself).
Sometimes the risk will pay off. Unfortunately, other times it won’t. But either way, the best chance any of us have at finding the truest, purest, happiest form of love is by accepting the fact that it’s going to hurt no matter what. And that we don’t have any control over it. We don’t have to like it, we certainly don’t have to enthusiastically embrace the idea that love will hurt. But what we must do is be aware of the fact that we have to willingly opening ourselves up to pain, rejection, vulnerability, loss, and a whole lot of other uncomfortable emotions, if we want any chance at all of experiencing real love. The reason love is so amazing to begin with is that by opening our hearts wide enough, we make room for more joys and more highs than we’ve ever experienced before. But that’s why it’s scary – that extra room for happiness can double as extra room for pain.
One cannot occur without the other – love and pain. Either you experience a love that ends at some point, whether you wanted it to or not, and you undergo a deep heartache that is at once nauseating, discouraging, and something you’re convinced that you are incapable of coming back from. Or you fall and stay in love with someone for the rest of your life, and yet you still experience pain in another form – a form that involves a never-ending worry over their happiness, their health, over what you would ever do if you lost them or something horrible happened to them, the list doesn’t stop. It only ever gets longer.
So you have a choice. We all do. Either you allow yourself to become a prisoner of love, to make your decisions based around what option is the least likely to cause you any harm or pain and to view love as a danger rather than a gift. Or you accept it for everything that it is, which means looking the pain (or the risk of pain) in the face and being willing to experience it in some form – if you think there’s a chance that you’ll also experience happiness in a way that you never have before.
There’s no win-win here. There never is. Either your heart is safe but completely deprived of experiencing great love, or your heart is in more danger than it’s ever been while simultaneously experiencing a feeling so special that it’s practically impossible to put into words. It’s up to you. Just remember that safety is not the same thing as happiness.