Love requires your vulnerability, your trust, and your understanding that you may be hurt. And to be clear, people who know how to love may also hurt you, not intentionally, but simply because people are always changing and growing, and sometimes a partnership that worked well at one time doesn’t anymore. Even in those cases, love is not hurting you. The loss of it is. Or the destruction of it.
We want to say this is forever and I will love you exactly like this for the rest of my days, but the truth is, no one can promise that. People can promise to try with everything they’ve got to dig deep and fight for the relationship when necessary, and to nurture it and treasure it, and treat it as the incredible gift it is. They can promise to keep seeing you with fresh eyes every day, to keep opening to you as you change and grow, and to do everything they can to support your growth and your full expansion and your inner yes, but that’s the most you can hope for or expect, and that’s the most you can offer, too. And that’s a lot.
I get emails from people on a fairly regular basis and they go something like, “Everyone I’ve been with has cheated on me, so now I believe everyone cheats.” Or, “Everyone I’ve been with has left me, so I think everyone leaves.” No, the people you’ve been picking cheat and leave, that’s the story to examine. Because we always know. We may not want to know, but somewhere down deep, the alarm goes off, and we listen, or we barrel forward, anyway. I dated a guy once and we were maybe a month in, and he told me he had a guy friend crashing with him one night. I can’t explain it, but I knew in my gut something was off. I knew enough that I walked my dog over to his house in the rain, even though I felt crazy doing it, and even though I was worried he might see me, and watched him walk into his building holding hands with the guy. I watched the lights go on inside his house, and then I watched them go off. And it wasn’t the gender that was painful. Dishonesty is the thing. Without trust there’s no relationship.
If you notice patterns in your romantic life, like you keep overriding your intuition and end up getting hurt, take a good, unflinching look at what’s happening within you. Do you feel some deep shame, like you aren’t worthy of love? Do you have a belief system you’re subconsciously trying to validate, as in, “Everyone leaves, so I’ll keep picking people who seem likely to leave, that way my beliefs are held up and even though it hurts, the world makes sense this way and I can keep clinging to my story”? Are you living in the fear of what it would mean to really let go, to really open up, to allow someone to see you and hold you and accept you as you really are, and not just as you wish to be perceived? How long do you want to do that, exactly? Because you can repeat the cycle again and again, and blame this person or that person, but if you really want to know the truth, you are just breaking your own heart. You are, no one else. And you’re doing that by deflection.
When you keep picking people who seem likely to let you down, even when all the intuitive alarm bells are going off, you are choosing a ride into a brick wall. You’re getting on the train, you’re buying the ticket, and you’re taking a ride on the track marked “Reckless.” Because how many times do you think you can be careless with your heart before it starts to harden? Two? Three? Seven? If you want to love, you’re going to have to be a bada$$. It’s not an undertaking for the fearful, so if you’re feeding your fears, have a seat and let the trains whiz by you, because if you jump on, it’s not going to be pretty. Sit on the bench until you recognize, with every bit of your being, how insanely special you are. How many gifts you bring to the table, how much depth and empathy and patience and kindness exists within you, ready to be shared. How much joy. Then get on the train, but only if it’s on the track marked “Potential”, and open up to love, even though you may be hurt.
Do it anyway. Love is the most liberating experience in the world. The process of figuring out how to dive in may be painful and full of false starts, but love itself will never hurt you. The complicated, confused, very human people who are also trying to open to it may, but send them love, too. Because every experience teaches us something about who we are, what lights us up, what we want and don’t want, and how to keep going inside to open up to more of that love we all possess. Sending you some right now, Ally Hamilton