People always seem to ask me the same question: “How do I continue to love after being hurt time and time again?” There’s not a straight forward answer to that but, there is an answer that can be reached with time, patience, and growth. As much as I’ve been through when it comes to love, you would think that I would’ve given up by now but, that’s not the case. There comes a point in life where you have to realize that pain equals growth. Who would we be if we never had to learn and grow.
One lesson that has stuck with me through the pain is this: it’s not my loss, it’s theirs. I know who I am presently, I know who I aspire to become in the future, and I know what I have to offer. The people who are meant to be in my life are here and those who aren’t meant to be in it, aren’t. You can love someone with every piece of you and that sometimes can still not be enough, so show them the door. Though you may feel shitty in the moment; understand that in the long run, it will hurt them more than they’ve hurt you. I had to perform a serious self-intervention course on myself in order for this mindset to become a lifestyle for me.
First, I stopped taking everything personal. We like to think that when people hurt us, it’s because of something we did or because they’ve been out to get us the whole time. That isn’t always the case. I had to understand that not everyone was raised like me. I had to understand that not everyone is in tune with their emotions like I am; not everyone is capable of being vulnerable. So believe it or not, sometimes when people hurt you, it’s only a reflection of how they feel about themselves. It’s a hard concept to grasp but, the self-love that someone lacks for themselves can play a big part on how they treat others. Until they find that peace and love within themselves, for themselves, they will destroy everyone who tries to love them. It could be to protect themselves but, it can also be to protect you. So understand that just because you see someone you once loved, loving someone else the way they should’ve loved you, doesn’t mean that it’s personal. You were way ahead of them mentally and emotionally. They needed to be with someone who they could grow with because growing with someone is sometimes better than trying to catch up with someone who has already achieved their full potential of growth.
Secondly, I started forgiving. Holding grudges does nothing except create anxiety and unhappiness. The hardest part is learning how to forgive even when no apology is given. I had to learn that some people are either too prideful to apologize or they just don’t ever think that they’re wrong. I promise you this though; once you forgive someone in your heart, you realize that the hate you were holding on to was unnecessary. Before, I used to hold grudges, thinking that it would make the person feel guilty. Let’s be honest though; choosing not to forgive someone doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you. They’ve forgiven themselves by moving on and changing who they are or they just don’t care whatsoever and will continue to hurt everyone who crosses their path. Either way, these are grounds for you to be able to allow yourself to forgive them as well. You’re not forgiving them for their benefit. You’re forgiving them for your benefit and your sanity. The inability or unwillingness to forgive is self-destructive even when you don’t realize it. Every time that you get hurt and don’t forgive, you let it all pile up until you explode in the worst way possible. Don’t even let yourself get that far. Forgive and let go of all that hurt and negativity. It’s not your burden to hold on to.
Lastly, I moved on! As hard as it may be, I’m no longer going to allow myself to hold on to what will never be. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to move on when the ones who have hurt me have. I deserve to be happy just as much as the next person and the only person who can stand in the way of that happiness is me. No one should have that much power of you; especially when you don’t have any power over them. At the end of the day, people will hurt you and move on like it never happened. You have to do the same. Of course you’re going to be cautious when doing so but, don’t let your caution become an issue that carries over into your next relationship. Drop that sadness, that regret, that anger, and let yourself move on to the things and people that will truly make you happy. It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
Continuing to love after being hurt doesn’t make you naïve, gullible, or a fool. In my opinion, it’s a sign of maturity. Only someone who is still set in their immature ways would shut out every possibility of love and growth after being hurt. Don’t get me wrong, it may take time to trust others again; especially after you’ve been hurt multiple times. That doesn’t mean you should completely give up on love though. If anything, staying angry, bitter, and sheltered will only result in you becoming the one to hurt others. So take the necessary time to heal, let go, and move on. In the end, you won’t regret it.