“Don’t ever waste your precious time on a guy who treats you like me,” were the words he said to me before he left. He couldn’t even look at me in the eye while saying it. Our story was messy and flawed, and it always felt like its fate was sealed right from the beginning. It wasn’t just him, we both never really knew what we wanted from the relationship. We always swayed back and forth between uttering the words, “I love you”, and “I’m done with you.” And as I watched him drive away and disappear from my life, I began to wonder where my love was going, or if he was my love at all.
Ever since then, I’ve spent a good number of years of my precious early adulthood thinking that maybe my problem was that I never believed in love. I must have uttered those three words quite a number of times in the short life that I have lived so far. Though, every time I found myself saying “I love you,” it always felt like I was bluffing. I always thought that after spending a certain number of days or time with a person, you automatically had to utter the three magical words. And whenever I said them, I dug a deeper hole for myself.
I have this “thinking spot” that I visit every time I’m disturbed (yep, I know it sounds cliché). One day, I found myself in that spot and guess what, he was sitting there! After confronting him, I got to know that ever since he walked out of my life, he’d been visiting my thinking spot to reminisce about the time we spent together. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that my problem wasn’t that I never believed in love. My problem was that I felt I was incapable of returning it. And then, it occurred to me that how could I not believe in love when this guy who loved me with all his heart, let go of me just because he realized that that was best for me. No! We didn’t get back with each other or anything. We spoke. It was neither happy nor sad, but we spoke a lot and we were peaceful with our realizations about each other.
Now, if you’re thinking that this is the part of the story where I’m going to give you some clichéd quotes from a reference book, well, you’re wrong. Because I feel I can do better than that.
See, I agree that this world can be a very harsh, and cold place at times, and all those bad guys and those unfulfilled relationships you see around you will definitely erode your beliefs about love. But you should stop yourself from overthinking about whether it exists or not, or why it doesn’t exist. Stop guarding your heart so zealously, be vulnerable; let it break, let it love. However, if you find yourself at a point in life where your beliefs about love seem improbable or standing on a shaky foundation, then here’s a list of pointers for you to remember. Read it first and thank me later.
1. Everybody Around Is Struggling
Remember that you’re not alone in this dating world. Sure, it is a long road and you’re bound to find yourself in some rough, bumpy spots. The struggle with love is considered common and there’s a multitude that’s sailing in the same boat with you.
2. Love Doesn’t Necessarily Have To Come From Dating
Dating sites can’t guarantee you love. You have your family, friends, and a brigade of those little fluffy pets that are there to be your pillars of support. They all are madly in love with you; so, you see, love can be found outside of a romantic relationship too.
3. Firstly, Love Yourself
It is the truth after all, right? It’s an impossible task to find love around you or anywhere else in this world if you can’t find it in yourself first. When you say you don’t believe in love, stand in front of a mirror and see if you believe in the image that’s staring back at you. So, give your self-esteem a boost, by practicing some self-love, and self-care, and believe in love and believe in yourself.
4. It’s Okay To Feel Jaded
You should be aware of the fact that there are going to be lulls in the happy journey of love as well. A sad day or a day or two where you are bored doesn’t mean that love is wrong or that it’s a lie. It’s up to you how you get yourself out of that sad state of mind. It’s also going to help you in life, in the long run. Not every day is sunshine and daisies, some days are going to be remorseful, but it’s all a package. Embrace it!
And last but not the least, I’m not going to say approach love with naive optimism. Love can be a peevish devil. And I, in fact, will urge you all to approach it with the utmost skepticism; it’s healthy! You’ll find a million versions of love around you. Don’t try to find yours by shaping your needs according to it. Rather, make a new version for yourself. Go ahead and learn to embrace and believe in love, again and again. Because love has no expiry date.