“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?”
If I had to answer the question a year ago, it would be that I’ve loved horribly. I hadn’t been in love in 10 years. I love friends who have come into my life and my family, but I haven’t loved a man in 10 years. I’ve been trying to figure out what love means to me. Is it this unexplainable emotion that takes over? Is it what we create? Is it that thing they tell us about in the movies?
We’re all a little scared of love, but I explicitly tried to avoid it for so long, that when I got back in the game, I had no idea how it felt or what it meant.
Last year I dated a man that if it weren’t for him, I probably would not be where I am today. He was patient, understanding, honest and vulnerable. He opened up to me in a way that most men don’t do now a days in a really short amount of time. In return I trusted him and opened back. I allowed him to take the lead on our relationship and for the first time in a really long time, felt something for someone else.
It didn’t work out for us romantically, though we tried a few times, but we stayed in touch and became friends. A year after we initially dated, I called him to catch up for dinner and when we met I told him I loved him. He was in shock. I have a great poker face and no one ever knows how I feel unless I choose to reveal my cards.
He didn’t say it back. I didn’t need him to. I decided that I was going to love and accept love into my life in a way I hadn’t done before. Even if I wasn’t sure what love really was, I appreciated this man’s role in my life, cared deeply about him and I didn’t want to go on not admitting it to him or I.
There was no pressure to get back into a relationship, no pressure for him to tell me how he felt about me. I purely did it for myself. If I can’t love openly and honestly, then what’s the point in everything I was doing? Even if he wasn’t the one (and he’s not), I wanted to be able to tell anyone I cared about that I do.
Do we love to be loved back? If we do, we’re selfish, are looking for validation, and do not love for the right reason. If you don’t consider yourself to be any of these things, then there’s no need to hear it back.
It doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Loving freely without having it reciprocated is hard. It’s selfless and there are days you can feel outright stupid about it, but in the end how well did you love?
Today, I love very well.