Some correspondence I had with a reader last week got me to thinking about how life is really all about taking risks. And how anything worth having usually requires risking something of ourselves. Like love. Especially when we’re talking about love in the truest sense of the word.
Because when we put ourselves out there and share part of ourselves with another person, whether it’s in the emotional or physical sense, there’s always the risk that our feelings will not be reciprocated; that someone else may take advantage of our good will, our purest intentions, our selfless love.
And there’s always the risk that we will be hurt in the process.
But the beauty of all of this putting ourselves out there and taking these risks, where the matters of the heart are concerned, is that in doing so, we discover who we really are. And what we’re really made of. And just how deeply we hold the capacity to love.
And that’s the most beautiful thing. Because every time we choose to stay open and give love, even when it feels so difficult to do so, we find out just how beautiful the gift of our love really is. Whether it’s reciprocated or not.
The wise part of us knows the difference between when we’re in a relationship that’s worthy of us, or whether it’s time to say goodbye and gracefully walk away, but always retaining and keeping that love that’s all ours to give. Allowing that love to freely flow through us, so that we become love.
Because that’s what it’s really all about. It’s not about keeping that love to ourselves, refusing to risk being hurt. It’s about understanding that love, true love, feeds our hearts and souls as much as we give of the love of ourselves, and allow it to freely flow through us.
It’s about learning to separate the love from the relationship, and understanding that it’s the relationship that isn’t being reciprocated. It just means that it’s not the right relationship for you.
The love is always there, because it’s in you. Love doesn’t require reciprocation. Love exists within you, independently of anything or anyone else.
Here’s a little poem that I love that says volumes about matters of the heart. It’s from one of the first inspirational authors I ever read, Leo Buscaglia. If you don’t know who he is, this bio provides a very nice summary of the background of this truly inspirational man.
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to others is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken,
because the greatest hazard in life is to do nothing.
The person who risks nothing,
does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes, they are a slave,
they forfeited their freedom.
Only the person who risks can be free.
- Leo Buscaglia
I’ve kept these words in my Inspiration Box to help me through the lonely times, and as an occasional reminder, always right when it was needed, that in order for our hearts to grow in love, there is always the chance that they may break.
I hope that his words can help you to find strength just when you need it most. The strength to know that a broken heart is not the end of the story, but just one more stepping stone in the path to finding true love, the love that’s meant for you.
Beautiful, loving, deserving you.