Yesterday I received an email from a guy who really likes this woman. “Likes” is an understatement. They’ve been dating for a couple of months, but he thinks he’s crazier about her than she is about him so he’s playing it cool. Not calling or texting too much, not expressing the depth of his feelings, just kind of going along, acting casually and agonizing when he’s by himself. Would she come forward more if he did? If he tells her how he feels will she run? If he doesn’t, will he lose her? Does he measure up to the picture she has in her head of the kind of guy she wants to be with?
Later in the day I got an email from a woman who’s dating this guy she really digs, but is riddled with insecurity because he’s good friends with his ex-girlfriend. She thinks the ex has a better body than she does and maybe he still really wants her. Sometimes she checks his phone to see their texts. Also, she saw him checking out another girl while they were on a date. And her ex-husband cheated on her.
At about 4pm, my friend “Sue” from New York called me and said she’d been spending time with this guy that she likes and he might like her, but he might just want to be friends, she really can’t tell. I asked her why she doesn’t just ask him and she said she wasn’t ready for the news if he just wants to be her friend.
Then my almost-four-year-old daughter came home and asked me when our puppy was going to die and also if I was. With her lip trembling.
This is reality. The more you love, the more you increase the chance that you could be devastated. We never know how much time we have or how much time we have with anyone else. Ever. You can live your life in fear and decide to keep yourself safe by not risking your heart too much or you can go for it with everything you’ve got for as long as you’ve got. Either way, one day we are all going to exhale for the last time. Hopefully it’s one day way, way out ahead of us.
In the meantime, I think the absolute best thing in life is love and connection, and the bravery it takes to open your heart all the way. To move right into the center of your fear and throw your head back and laugh and say, “I feel you, but I’m doing it, anyway!” Not to be reckless with your heart, of course, to take your time and feel things out, but if you’re in be in. Recognize your own humanness and beauty and and raw, grieving places, and offer them all up. That stuff is your song and if you don’t sing it you rob the world of a chord that only you can offer. It’s made up of every amazing thing and every heartbreaking thing that’s ever happened to you, and also the first time you skinned your knee or had a crush and wrote your name in a heart with someone else’s. It’s the nights you cried yourself to sleep, and the day you threw the winning pass and everybody cheered. It’s the time you got fired, or caught your wife and your best friend in bed and decided that was it for love. It’s the day you went to that funeral and thought, “I can’t get through this.” It’s that four-year-old you who wondered when your puppy would die and when your mom would die because you already knew everything you really needed to know when you were four. That love is it and that if you’re going to love you might get hurt.
But if you’re not going to love, you may as well be dead already. Love and be vulnerable. Holding yourself back is easy. It’s safe but it’s also sad. Love requires you to be a badass. What are you going to do with the time you have?
Sending you love,