The World’s Standard Of Love Does Not Have To Be Your Standard Of Love

happy couple eating pizza, the way you love, world's standard of love vs. yours

The world says be guarded. Step in with only one little toe; test the water, but always keep your heart protected, just in case it doesn’t work out. The world says take caution. Think before you speak but never reveal too much; let someone see only the good parts of you, not the true. The world says have options. Never revolve yourself around one single person; keep others on the backburner. Lead each lover on with smooth words and unsure intentions. That’s how you keep yourself safe, you know.

The world says be distant. Emotions cool and collected. Unreadable, even when you’re dying to feel someone’s lips on yours. The world says run at the first sign of trouble. If a person becomes too much to bear, let them battle their demons alone. Rescue yourself first.

The world says care less, engage in physical over meaningful, disappear without a call.

The world says take a certain amount of days to respond, all calculated, all based in fear.

The world says you have to be with a significant other by a certain age, have to get married by the time you’re xyz years old. The world says you’re supposed to settle down. You’re supposed to be with your high school sweetheart. You’re supposed to find ‘the one’ right out of college. You’re supposed to have this love thing all figured out. You’re supposed to be pretty and perfect and have this little relationship that shines for all the world to see.

The world says, ‘this is how you should love.’

But f*ck what the world says.

Some of us fall in and out of a relationship with the same person for years before finally moving on, before realizing we’re meant to be, before traveling the damn world and finding ourselves. Some of us meet the love of our lives on a metro to the city, in the middle of a coffee shop, at work, in our friend group, when suddenly this one person becomes both a confidant and lover.

Some of us fall deeply. Some of us fall slowly. Some of us aren’t quite sure what it means to really care for someone and so we stumble and make a mess and figure it out as we go. And that’s okay.

The world’s standard of love does not have to be your standard of love.

There are no rules you must abide by. If you want to kiss someone, kiss them. If you want to tell him how you feel, let him know. If you want to fly her out to meet your family, buy the damn ticket. You don’t have to shy away from your true heart. You don’t have to back off from your pure, unhindered intentions.

You don’t have to stand there, one toe barely breaking the surface and yet longing, more than anything, to just dive in.

There’s no reason to be afraid. If you have feelings for someone, if you feel passion towards a person or relationship, if you’re nervous but excited about the possibility of intertwining your heart with another—then what on earth is holding you back?

You don’t have to love like the world loves. You are not the world.

You don’t have to be so damn afraid of rejection. If it doesn’t work out, it’s simply a lesson learned. You don’t have to be so damn scared of heartbreak. Even the worst pain will cease in time and teach you your strength. You don’t have to be so damn scared of loss. Everything in this world is temporary, so why not grab hold of what you can, while you can?

Why not love fiercely, with everything you have?

The world tells you to shy away, to have options, to never fully commit. The world tells you that people will hurt you, that trusting someone means you’re weak, that relationships are complicated and will only leave you broken.

But this same world that puts up so many caution signs is a world so desperately searching for something real. And how can a world that’s too afraid to really feel find anything remotely genuine?

If you want to date the boy that’s wrong for you, do it. If you want to fall for the girl who’s guarded, fall freely. If you want to take chances, make mistakes, have an imperfect and messy and wonderful love—dive headfirst. Because this life is too short to put up walls, to hide behind masks, to be so damn afraid of what could potentially go wrong that you lose out on what could possibly go right.

What the world believes your love should look like does not have to be the way your relationship is.

Dance in the street and act like children. Share pizza and watch the sunrise. Move in together. Live separately. Travel the world. Stay in your hometown. Date older. Date younger. Explore. Give your heart away. Heal it back after it’s been broken. Fall for someone you should. Fall for someone you shouldn’t. Listen to your head. Listen to your heart. Don’t be so afraid to feel.

So much of ourselves is measured, calculated, and compared to the worldly standards we should uphold. Love was never meant to be one of those things. So don’t let it.

Love fiercely, love quietly, love boldly, love purely.
Love the way you want to. Love without fear. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Marisa Donnelly is a poet and author of the book, Somewhere on a Highway, available here.

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

Keep up with Marisa on Instagram, Twitter, Amazon and

More From Thought Catalog