Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting people that share their joy, their pain and their insight with me. I’m not big on superficial, empty conversation…I like to get to the core of a person and see them for who they really are and I want them to see me. Through all these conversations, I’ve learned that as humans we share one very important connection. Love and pain. One person’s pain may be greater than another, but never the less pain always exists. The truth of the matter is we would never experience pain if we didn’t experience love first. The pain comes from the loss of love whether it’s heartbreak, death or abandonment. Sometimes it’s all three.
I recently met a woman that opened her soul to me and showed me her pain. Some people are uncomfortable with others sharing those deep feelings, but I find it to be a gift. It’s a gift to me because it allows me to have a deeper understanding for that person and gives me insight into the pain that shaped them into the person they are today. It allows me to see that my pain is insignificant to those who have lived through much worse and the strength of their survival.
Surviving love and loss is a universal law. In fact, loss allows us to love even more deeply than we have before. Loss can also keep us from ever loving again. I’m realizing more and more how guarded I am with my heart. My pride and unwillingness to ever be vulnerable prevents me from putting my heart on the line. I’m easily triggered if I get even an inkling that a person is not trustworthy. Instead of sharing my feelings and helping them understand why I have those triggers, I’m quick to walk away and close my heart. It’s safer there. I see women and men do this all the time. We avoid relationships that make us feel vulnerable. We’d rather be alone or be with losers that we know are emotionally unavailable because we know what we’re getting ourselves into. We know that these people don’t have the capacity to truly love us, so we pretend that using them for attention is enough. Well, it’s not enough is it? We deserve to be loved and to share the love we have to give. Sex is empty without it. Life is empty without it.
Learning to love again has been the hardest lesson to learn. I’ve spent the past few years pretending to be healed when in actuality, I’ve been building the fucking Great Wall of China with every person I’ve met. The more I like someone…the more vulnerable I feel…another layer of bricks go up. I’ve come to realize that I have to stop the pretense of being ready to love again and actually be willing to risk it. That’s even hard for me to say never mind doing it. The truth is, I’m truly ready to love again, but I have to find someone that’s deserving of that love. Someone I can trust with my heart. Those people are hard to find because at my age, everyone has experienced some level of pain that prevents them from fully opening their heart and showing their true selves.
After heartbreak, loss or abandonment we enter relationships doing a little dance and playing games that test the other person’s level of commitment. We doubt that this person is truly genuine and look for flaws or any red flags to give us reasons to turn away. I’m guilty of this time and time again. The problem is that I can’t determine whether this is my bruised ego keeping me protected from being with the wrong person again or is it my impenetrable wall of cynicism. Either way, the wall is there and it’s shutting out any possibility of love.
What I’ve realized in my journey to learning to love again, is that I’m willing to try. I’m willing to be vulnerable. I’m willing to put my heart out there and I’m willing to be hurt. This is the only way I can ever experience love again. The two go hand and hand. Love and pain. Don’t let fear get in the way of experiencing the joy of being in love and the intoxication of passion. Don’t hide behind your wall of pride or the facade of dating people you know are emotionally vacant and only want you for sex. Those people won’t love you—they will only use you and throw you away like a piece of trash or recycle you when they get a little lonely. You should want and expect more for yourself. Find self-love and respect yourself. Realize you deserve so much more than what you have allowed in your past. Be willing to open your heart. You will survive just as you have in the past. Use your pain as a guide to avoid the pitfalls you’ve fallen into along your way. Let them see you instead of hiding behind your pain. This is what life is all about so start living and start loving.