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Love Like I’ve Never Been Hurt Before: Blessed Through The Pain

May 17, 2012

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.

–Ari Speaks

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.

For Discussion:

Do you agree with me?  What are your feelings?  Have you ever felt like giving up on love?  Holla me!  SPEAK!!!

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2012 10:10 AM

    Wow…very well said. What’s interesting (and encouraging) to me is how well some of these insights apply/translate to a “male” point of view on relationships. Thanks for sharing – great post!

    ~jbg

    • May 17, 2012 10:45 AM

      Wow Jon! I am sooo glad to hear that what I’ve shared here translates well for men! That is one of my goals with this blog. Thanks for sharing that with me! And thanks for your continuous support! Blessings!

  2. Alexis permalink
    May 17, 2012 10:19 AM

    I totally agree with you Ari.There have been plenty of times when I have loved whole heartedly and then let down,dissappointed, and betrayed.I can say that after my last major heartbreak,I decided to not care about the mean I was dating.I was taking my anger and hurt from past relationships out on them. Now looking back and analyzing myself,the real person that I hurt was myself and not just the clueless man I was involved. I was possibly missing out on good men that didn’t deserve my abuse.
    Besides that,it is not my job to punish anyone.I know now that God will take care of those. I know that I am still healing,a work in progress.
    P.S,I love the Blog

    • May 17, 2012 11:08 AM

      Hey Alexis! Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your own experiences with love. And yes we are all certainly a work in progress, but God is up to something beautiful in us! (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Be encouraged. Btw, I’m so glad you like the blog! Yaaaay! Come back and visit! LOL! Blessings!

  3. May 17, 2012 3:55 PM

    Cousin Ari, I completely agree with you. But not only have I wanted to give up on love by being in a committed, serious relationship but also stop loving those–especially those who are close to me–who have hurt me throughout my life. But as of Youth Week 2011, I made the decision to not give up and keep going because “I AM MORE THAN A CONQUEROR!” Then, this year’s Youth Week 2012 reminded me that through every tough trial and obstacle I MUST have “THE AUDACITY TO HOPE” as Rev. Dominique stated in her message that morning. Cousin, thank you for sharing your in depth thoughts on love.

    • May 17, 2012 4:51 PM

      Hey there fam! Isn’t it a blessing that God’s love never runs out? Moreover, God never turns a back to us! Fred Hammond has a great song on his new album, “You Never Turned.” You should check it out! Thanks for reading and sharing! Blessings! Live you much!

  4. May 17, 2012 9:44 PM

    I love this part “Have I been perfect in loving?”

    BIG! BIG!! BIG!!! Thanks for being so honest.

    • May 17, 2012 10:43 PM

      Hello Naila! Thanks so much for reading! I re-read my post again late in the afternoon today and started to feel vulnerable. But I did really try to be honest and I’m glad I did. Glad you liked it! Thanks for stopping by! Blessings!

  5. Brian Toliver permalink
    May 17, 2012 11:08 PM

    Cousin – I wholeheartedly agree. Great post! What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. God is love. Therefore love is a beautiful thing. However, it’s imperative we learn the intended lesson and press through the hurt and pain. You know my recent situation and it still hurts three years later BUT through it all the love is still present… Another great post baby ;) love you!

    • May 17, 2012 11:38 PM

      Thanks fam! Love you bunches! Thanks for reading and always supporting me! MUAH!!!

  6. mommy permalink
    May 18, 2012 5:53 AM

    W O W! What a very profoundly honest, piece this is! It shows much growth, and maturity in the woman in you! To be able to achieve this level of self-development at your age is profound in itself! Then to step up your pace and share with the world of social communication is true confirmation that you still may not yet arrived.as has been quoted, but you have certainly bought your ticket! I now completely understand what a “BLOG” is and why it is your right to say, what you want to say, and how you want to say it! TO MY GROWN BABY GIRL: I LOVE YOU….I’M SO VERY PROUD OF YOU! AND AS ALWAYS….I HOPE YOU DANCE!

    • May 18, 2012 6:37 AM

      Love you much momma!! Thanks for your affirmation! I’m glad you finally do understand what a blog is! LMBO!

      • mrstamtam permalink
        August 3, 2012 7:31 AM

        Ari I’m glad I found you and started following you today via Michelle’s Motivation. I just had to mention that I’ve noticed those ‘sayings’ run in your family….1st the Godmother in NC now I’ve met your mom saying:
        “you still may not yet arrived.as has been quoted, but you have certainly bought your ticket!”
        HA! Honey Chile I love it, I’m writing it DOWN and using it later!

        • August 3, 2012 7:50 AM

          Lol!!! Yes, girl! You’re right about my fam. I think my dad is the best though. I usually live post (on FB) his commentary during major sporting events. He’s hilarious! Maybe I’ll live tweet him next time. Anyway, thanks for coming on this journey with me. I look forward to your company. Blessings!

          –Ari

  7. May 18, 2012 12:54 PM

    Do you think that loving irregardless of fidelity is Christian attribute? It is common place for black women to love their adulterous assailant in the aftermath of wanton indescretions, and in the psyche of black men, we see this as accepatance of infidelity. I was recently propositioned by a celebrity wife and was told by a married man to commit the act because confessing succumbing to the seductiveness of a woman so famous will be overlooked. He said she’ll still love you anyway, and will be glad that you chose to come back to her after having had more succlent fruits. This is the predicament black women inadvertantly capsulate themselves in by being over-lovers.In order for black women to be succesful in loving black men, they need to transform some of their emotion into logic because the black male emotion is purely libidic.

    • May 18, 2012 2:27 PM

      Hey there! Welcome back! To answer your first question: No. I don’t think that loving a person who has hurt you, partiularly by cheating, is something that only Christians have the ability to do. I can say this because I don’t think that Christians are the only people who share and receive love.

      Please note, however, that this post is not focused on fidelity, specifically, although you’re thoughts on it are certainly welcome here. Hurt can come from a lot of things, not just infidelity. Personally, I have never experienced problems with fidelity in any relationship I’ve had. I am speaking about how I will approach love again in the future after having been hurt in the past.

      Second, I do think your comment reflects quite a few erroneous assumptions and generalizations about both Black women and Black men. I don’t think all Black women choose to stay with men who aren’t faithful. And I don’t think that all Black men emote only with their sexual desire. And I think you misspeak for Black women and Black men when you assume as much.

      Finally, I don’t think that anyone should ever stay in a relationship that they don’t feel is healthy for them. However, this does not mean that they stop loving the person. Just because I still have feelings of love for someone does not mean I am unable to make the choice to end the relationship after a betrayal or whatever else went wrong in the relationship. In fact, I have done that very thing. But that doesn’t mean that my love ended. The relationship did.
      Thanks for sharing as always!
      Blessings!

  8. Tiara permalink
    May 23, 2012 4:18 PM

    Only way to be real is be real with others so I commend you for first being an open book in so many ways that others including myself know like MJ put it we are not alone, so thank you. Second I’m coming to find out with all that I have experienced love is not something that can be found, instead, it is when you truly learn to trust the Lord you can truly be loved, so my opinion is this yes you can be loved like you’ve never been hurt because I believe and I’m not speaking for anyone else but I there are things I’ve done that hurt the Lord but yet he still loves me! Great post I shall return :-)

    • May 23, 2012 5:51 PM

      Hey T! Welcome back! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Yes, you’re right, we are not alone! I look forward to chatting with you in the future! Blessings!

  9. Diana Mitchell permalink
    June 8, 2012 8:50 PM

    I am so privileged to know you!

    • June 11, 2012 2:15 PM

      Aww thanks Diana! Thanks for stopping by and remaining soooo supportive!

  10. June 11, 2012 1:37 AM

    Thanks for linking my post, Ari. I’m definitely a “what doesn’t kill, you makes you stronger” believer. Each of my experiences with pain, love, and loss have taught me so much. I’m glad to have had them. Great post!

    • June 11, 2012 2:17 PM

      YESSSS!!! That’s some Mary J Blige, “Stronger With Each Tear” concept! No tear is ever wasted! Thanks for the compliment. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  11. Shelion permalink
    August 23, 2012 4:53 PM

    Its better to have loved & lost than to have never loved at all. The experience whether good or bad is needed to grow and learn.

    • August 24, 2012 10:52 PM

      Heeeeey my dear! You are so right! **sighs** lol Thanks for stopping by!

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