When you’ve become accustomed to love feeling like loneliness—to crying into your pillow each night despite the warm body lying next to you—experiencing true connection can be unsettling, at first. You’ve bled yourself dry and forgotten how to receive; you’ve become so unfortunately familiar with misery that happiness seems an absolute incongruity.
What is this?
Why does it feel so light?
Why am I so uncomfortable?
Given enough heartbreak, you start to believe that romance is dead, that your heart will be fractured, in perpetuity. Your past experience has taught you that love breaks you. Love lies to you. Romantic partners cannot be trusted. People will cheat. People will deceive. People will betray—this is all part of the flawed human condition.
But despite how tightly your ego grasps to its armor, you can never allow your heart to harden.
If you accept the Invitation to Apathy, if you choose to be jaded over feeling hopeful, recognizing connection when it occurs can prove difficult, to say the least. You can be resistant. Petulant. Dismissive. You can turn it down. You can miss it completely, too caught up in your own narrative about “how much love hurts” and “how badly you’ve been burned’ to see magic incarnate as it stares you right in the face.
You have to stay soft through the storm. You must. You absolutely must.
Love doesn’t have to make you bleed—you have to believe this and many other truths:
That love doesn’t always have to break your heart—that trusting others doesn’t have to be so hard —that people can see each other fully, without guise or pretense, and choose to make magic together, even and especially when their tendencies tempt them otherwise.
You have to believe that this time can be different, or it won’t be. You can’t get so comfortable with heartbreak that you don’t know how to receive love. When the time comes, you’ll need to lay down your sword. It doesn’t always have to be a fight.