I’m a hopeless romantic. There I said it.
I love the idea of falling in love, I love the feeling when you start to slip from casual into head-over-heels serious, and I love seeing people that are so dizzy in love with each other they lose all sense of time and place.
I think falling in love with someone is one of the most beautiful things in the world. It’s what makes us human—the ability to feel and feel such powerful emotion for another person. A smile stretches across my face subconsciously even thinking about it.
But what I find disheartening about today’s world is all the rules placed on love. How old you’re supposed to be, what it’s supposed to look like, how you’re supposed to find it, or let it find you.
Or the most frustrating: The person you should be before you fall in love.
The world gives us so many guidelines, so many restrictions, so many expectations. It puts our feelings into little boxes labeled, ‘This Is What It Should Look Like’ and ‘How To’ And I’m sick of it.
I don’t agree that there’s a specific time when you’re supposed to find love. That you can ever be ‘too young,’ or ‘too old,’ or too ‘childish’ or ‘not whole enough.’
I get that some people don’t want to find love at certain times in their life—perhaps because of dreams, or a well-deserved bout of selfishness, or a longing to pursue other things—all of this is understandable.
But you don’t have to have it all figured out, just to fall in love.
You don’t have to know exactly who you are before you can love another person.
I’ve read so many things about ‘finding yourself first’ or ‘loving yourself first.’ I get it, I really do. It’s important, if not essential, to find your self-worth in yourself rather than another person, but you don’t have to have your entire sense of self understood before you get into a relationship.
You don’t have to feel like you need to fix all the pieces of yourself before you fall in love with another person. Sure, you don’t want to be damaged goods, walking around in pain and self-pity. But you are still loveable, in all your forms and in all your stages.
And there are going to be plenty of things you won’t quite know about yourself before you date. That’s what dating and falling in love are all about—discovering who you are, and who you are with another person.
There’s no such thing as knowing exactly who you are, and no such thing as being completely perfect before loving someone else.
You are continually shifting and growing and changing. You will continue to go through trials and triumphs. What you want won’t always stay the same, and what hurts you will continue to shape you, even when you’re knees-deep in love.
There’s no way to know exactly who you are, to love exactly who you are before getting into a relationship because you’re not just a one-dimensional being.
Sure, you want to have a sense of your desires and purpose before jumping into something serious, but you don’t have to, and can’t, have your entire life figured out.
The world tells us that you have to be whole before you find someone, that you can’t look for your ‘other half’ because you’re already whole on your own.
I get that, and I completely agree that you’re whole on your own. But that doesn’t mean you push people away because you feel like you’re not quite there, or you want to discover this ‘wholeness’ even more.
If you’re already whole on your own, then finding who you are is irrelevant.
You’re already whole and capable and strong on your own. And falling in love doesn’t change that. It just allows you to be whole with another person.
So stop keeping yourself from the beautiful relationships you could be in. Stop trying to find yourself when you’ve already been found. Instead, try to find even more of yourself in this incredible thing called love.
We’re never going to have all the answers, never going to live perfect lives, never going to know exactly what it is we’re chasing, or who, exactly, we are. That’s why all the rules about love and when and how you should find it, are completely stupid.
You find love because you want to find love, because it happens to you out of nowhere, because you pursued it, or because you let it find you right where you are in the moment.
Love isn’t about ‘how tos’ or guidelines or making sure you’ve checked everything off on a list before you open up to the idea of it. Love is about letting yourself feel nervous and excited and unsteady and uncertain, but then closing your eyes and falling just the same.
It’s not about when, or how, or who you’re supposed to be before finding it.
It’s about letting it happen, letting yourself feel, letting your fears go.
About being yourself and being with someone who makes you feel not like a complete version of yourself, but an even more complete version of yourself.
Because love doesn’t define you, it builds you.
It doesn’t complete you, it compliments you.
You are beautiful on your own, but you shine even brighter in love.
And maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic, but I’ll never stop believing its worth it. And I hope you won’t either.