Love Like I’ve Never Been Hurt Before: Blessed Through The Pain
Lately, I’ve been more active on Twitter as I try to grow AriSpeaks.com. (Hit me up @AriSpeaks). Just like the blog, I try to use my Twitter account to uplift people so I often tweet positive messages throughout the day. Sometimes I tweet Scriptures, quotes, and other times my own thoughts, always with the goal of encouraging people. In fact, I tweeted part of one of my all-time favorite quotes yesterday…
“Dance as though no one is watching you,
love as though you’ve never been hurt before,
sing as though no one can hear you,
live as though heaven is on Earth.”–Souza
What a great perspective on savoring the moment and living life to its fullest, right?
Well yesterday, I tweeted this part: “love as though you’ve never been hurt before.” A few hours later, I began to question whether or not that is healthy advice. For some reason, I have been constantly thinking about love lately. Having recently experienced a painful break-up, reflection on love and life is a daily ritual. I have tried my best to avoid talking about my love life on AriSpeaks.com. I’ve never wanted to use my blog as a platform to trash talk men I have dated, and I won’t. More than that, some things are just private. However, this blog is about using my voice to SPEAK words that will encourage others or make them think. And the only way I can do that is to write from a place of honesty and transparency.
Note to ex-boos and love interests: You probably think this post is about you (thank you Carly Simon lol!), but it is not. It is about me sharing my life for the benefit of others.
In that vein, let me tell you that my experiences with love have been few, usually far between, and full of let downs and disappointments. I wish that I could say this more positively, but I have to be honest. Even the bible says that mortals who are born of a woman have but a few days and they are full of trouble (Job 14:1). And this has been the story of my love life. I have spent time with and dated some of the smartest, sexiest, most loving, hard-working, and caring men ever! Yes, yes, I have good taste! LOL! However, for numerous reasons these relationships didn’t work out. And for me, most of the break-ups were devastating. A few years ago I read on my cousin’s Facebook page that “There can be no great disappointment where there is no great love.” She was quoting Dr. Martin Luther King. When I read it I wanted to shout, “AMEN!!!” and get up to do my Methodist version of the holy dance, but instead I just clicked the like button, placed that insight in my pocket, and kept it moving. Those words of Dr. King were powerfully redemptive for me. I resolved that it was okay to have been disappointed because it meant that I had really loved.
Earlier this week, I commented on a post on one of my newly found favorite blogs, ForHarriet.com. The editor and writer, Kimberly Foster, was sharing about the beauty of walking away from an unhealthy relationship in order to preserve yourself and your own health and happiness. In her writing, she apparently aroused, what I will say was, an emotional response from readers when she concluded that sometimes love isn’t enough and that love does not conquer all. After reading the comments people made, it was clear to me that the post offended some folks’ sensibilities and basic assumptions about love. Well I jumped in the conversation to add my two cents because I agreed with Foster. The truth is that just because a relationship has failed does not mean that love has failed. In fact, love does not fail, rather it just keeps on loving no matter what.
Taking that time to analyze and think through my views on love and relationships in response to Foster’s thought-provoking post provided me with a profound new insight:
I am happy with the ways and the depth with which I have loved.
Have I been perfect in loving? No. But I am still happy that I have loved. My pastor told me a few years ago, “When you love, you love deeply.” And he was so right in his observation of me. In fact, every man I have ever loved, I still love. Even after and in the midst of all the pain, let downs, and disappointments, I still love. The scripture really is true, “Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 8) It really keeps going, even if the relationship does not. Love keeps going.
How awesome is that??!!
And I don’t regret having loved any of the men I have loved, though it has certainly afforded me pain. There is no shame in loving someone. And we are never wrong when we choose to love.
Deeper reflection on this topic forces me to ask questions about how my experiences with love, relationships, and hurt have affected me. I mean, is there some measure of grace available to me after all I have been through in this area of my life? Is there some glimmer of hope? Even after enduring the disappointments over and over again, even after feeling low from striking out each time I get up to bat, is there any silver lining? Does hope really spring eternal? Why, yes.
I must say that if nothing else, I have become immensely stronger each time. My healing process begins sooner each time. I recover faster each time. Though the hurt itself may be more intense than ever, with each experience my resolve and my strength is more intense too. I’m tough now; I can take more now. I still need God, but I am stronger now than I’ve ever been. In that sense, I am better able to deal with the hurt. My strength helps me push through and move forward. Each time I can look back in the past to see how God brought me through so many times. And that retrospective glance serves as my witness that God will bring me through again.
Moreover, each time I come to the table with more experience. I know what to expect. I’ve learned the stages of the healing process. I know how to get through the pain. I know how to overcome. I know how to care for myself as I journey-through. I know who to listen to and who to tune out. I’ve also learned to be patient with myself as I walk through the healing.
And of course, when I’m ready, I take time to think through my mistakes and try to learn the critical lessons that will make me smarter the next time I decide to love.
What I am saying is that like Marvin Sapp said, “I’m stronger, I’m wiser, I’m better, so much better” because of what I’ve experienced. All things truly are working together for my good (Romans 8:28). I absolutely believe this with all conviction. Each hurtful experience has and is helping to make me a better me.
And guess what?
I love the me that I am becoming! I love the woman I am growing into. And according to Ms. Nia Long-in her interview with Ebony Magazine, November 2011 issue–at age 28, I’m not even half the woman I am going to be yet! Isn’t that fabulous? I’m still here after everything. I’m still here and I’m still in the process of becoming who God envisioned before creating me (Psalm 139:16; Jeremiah 1:4). AWWWESOOMMEE!!!
Do I still have tough moments? Yes. Does the pain still hurt? Yep. Do I still have unanswered questions? Surely. But all of that helps to propel me forward towards the love I really want.
And I guess that is my point: I don’t want to love like I’ve never been hurt. I don’t want to ignore the pain or breeze over the trying experiences. God is using the hurt to make me a better person with a greater capacity to love.
To be sure, in this quote, I think Souza only meant to admonish us not to let past hurts prevent us from loving, and to enter each experience of love anew with a refreshed heart and an optimistic spirit. And this is good advice.
However, I have resolved that in my own healthy way I am taking the stronger, wiser, better me into every new encounter with love. The hurt has helped make me who I am, so I won’t suppress it. I will let it SPEAK.
So I’ll revise this. Rather than love as though I’ve never been hurt, I will love as though I am being healed.
P.S. Check out Fred Hammond’s new album, “God, Love, and Romance.” It speaks to all aspects of romantic love and relationships: the joy, the hurt, the healing, all of it!
FYI–”Souza” is credited with the quote discussed here, but I have no idea which Souza or where Souza said this. I’ve been researching it with no luck so far.
Do you agree with me? What are your feelings? Have you ever felt like giving up on love? Holla me! SPEAK!!!