I had an epiphany today. You ever have those moments where when it finally hits you, it’s like you’ve unlocked secrets within yourself? That “aha” moment where it finally makes sense? Very liberating.
Funny enough, it happened because of a video I saw on Facebook. It was about the bond and love between mother and child. Maybe it was the hangover, but it made me very emotional. I have always struggled between wanting children, but being afraid to. There are a number of reasons, for example I’m horrible with doctors, needles, and pain. I’m not that great with kids, either. Not bad, just not great.
Recently a new concern has popped into my mind: everyone always says they never knew how much they could love something until they had a child. But I know this world can be cruel. What happens when my child has her heart broken by a fool who couldn’t see what she was worth? When other children bully him for his interests and passions? Even at my current age, seeing someone I love in pain hurts me deeply. What happens when someone I created, someone I love on a level I can’t comprehend yet, gets hurt? I imagine it will break me to my core. Part of me is afraid of loving someone that much.
Over the years, I have been left heartbroken by a few people, and it has left me with this wall (to use the cliche). I struggle between being guarded and just letting myself feel freely. I have received broken promises, yet each time I am hopeful that maybe it will be different. It’s getting easier not to get my hopes up, and that’s been discouraging to me in a way.
I feel that I have to let things roll off my back and pretend they don’t hurt me, that I have to hold onto this air of not caring so that I can pretend to myself and to others that I’m not bothered. As if feeling something makes me weak.
But it doesn’t.
My epiphany: loving takes courage.
I’ve heard this before, seen it several times, and I’ve always agreed with the statement, but something in me today just clicked and it finally resonated with me.
It takes courage to make yourself so vulnerable to people. I’m not saying throw yourself headfirst into any feelings you may have, but to be open to loving someone with your whole heart, not withholding anything to protect yourself, is a brave act.
As someone who has been hurt in the past, and I’m not the only one, I have been discouraged from any kind of relationship with someone because I don’t want to feel that pain again, I don’t want to be played for a fool again, I don’t want to have my emotions toyed with again. Loving someone, being in a relationship – it’s taxing. It can be emotionally traumatic.
It’s not uncommon for a bad relationship to turn someone off to the idea of love. They feel it is better to be alone and content than give someone permission to affect their emotions. “Space is just a word made up by someone who’s afraid to get close.”
And that’s true, being alone is the safer option. Depending on your viewpoint, it may or may not be easier, but it is safer; you are responsible for your own happiness. Everyone says this as a way of saying “you’ll be okay, that breakup was rough, but you’ll be okay,” but I think it needs to be acknowledged that yes you were with someone and they made you happy and that’s okay too. I get why you’re sad, and I’m hurting for you, I know they made you happy, but you are also capable of making yourself happy. No, you don’t need a relationship to be happy, but being that close with someone, for most people, is something happy.
So for someone like me who has had some of their happiness ripped away from them by the very people that provided it, it takes courage to be willing to try again. To try and not let your past relationships interfere with a new one, to be excited over new beginnings.
(This stands true for those in platonic relationships as well as romantic ones.)
It’s okay to be afraid, “courage is not the absence of fear.” Fear is healthy. But it’s important to be willing to try again. I feel that I have a lot of love to give to my friends, my family, and my future partner, and I just want to share it with them all. Love is a beautiful thing to share.
I know that one day I will love someone deeply, and they won’t take it for granted. They will keep their promises, they will be brave enough to love me too, and I will be surprised by how much I love them. I will ache when my child is hurting because it is a genuine human emotion, and I will be courageous enough to feel love, joy, and sadness so deeply. I will be happy with myself for taking the leap, and I will be surprised by how strong I am because of it.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. -Lao Tzu