Why are we so scared to love? Is it because we’re nervous our hearts will be broken? That we’ll be left after giving all of ourselves to someone else? Is it because we’ve seen movies and fairytales, stories where all fell into place and others where people have crashed and burned? Or is it something else? Some underlying fear that the person we become won’t look familiar anymore?
Love will change you. That is the truth. It will reshape you from the inside out, challenge all you believed about the world and make you reconsider what truly matters. It will lift you from places you didn’t have the strength to rise from before. And at its core, it will teach you what you need to learn about yourself—the hard stuff, the lessons you’ve perhaps been quick to ignore.
Love is not something that comes into your life and slips out without notice.
When you love someone, at first this is unconscious. You’re walking alongside them, and suddenly you find yourself noticing the little things, like how their lips form words or how they walk with their hands by their sides. You pick up on the intonation of their letters, or how their hand absentmindedly pushes their hair behind their ears.
There are things you can’t help but notice—the curve of their smile, the way they say your name—and suddenly you love everything. From the crease above their eyebrow to the soft line carving a dimple in their cheek, you’re smitten. That’s all it takes. And suddenly you can’t remember what it was like before. Before their words clutters your mind. Before you couldn’t live your life without them in it.
Love, then, is unconscious. You didn’t have to try, didn’t have to force it. There is this underlying pull, bringing you closer, and you didn’t have to tell yourself to follow it. Your heart was beating and your legs were walking long before your mind caught up.
Then there comes the realization, the understanding—this is love—and the decision to pursue it. You start acting upon your feelings, telling that person the inner beating of your chest. You are no longer still, no longer capable of staying quiet because of the emotion in your veins. Love, then, takes over. But you willingly let it, you willingly invite it in.
Love becomes a choice down the road, a decision to pursue the person and the relationship even when things get hard. You choose to show up, to believe, to stay. And that is powerful.
But regardless of the timeline, love will change you. It shifts your perception of the people and things around you. It makes you believe in, and fight for things you may not have before.
You start to see the world differently, start to understand your role and purpose in a different light. No, love is not the answer, not the end-all-be-all of why you’re here. But the way you love, the love you give—that brightens the world. And so there is a place, a purpose for it.
You realize, despite the outcome, you are a better person because you loved, and let someone love you.
But you can’t be afraid of love—can’t be afraid of its start, or its end. You can’t be afraid of the things that could happen, good or bad. And you can’t be afraid of the person you’ll become walking through it.
You won’t stay the same, that’s for certain. You won’t have the same emotions or be guided by the same truths, but what you’ll experience will grow you, will strengthen you, will bring you so many painful and beautiful things. Love will change you. Let it.
Featured Image Credit: Lauren Rader