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Stop Loving, Stop Hurting

This time of the year is always the most difficult for me. I love change--don't get me wrong, but the process, the in-between of the old and the new that takes some stretching and adjusting, is never comfortable and almost always painful. The end of winter semester is always bittersweet. It's a relief but it's also very sad. It means lots of goodbyes, some for a really long time, and some for just long enough to hurt. And the sting about it, as with any other change, is that it all happens so fast.

Here's the thing about me that often complicates things if you don't already know. I'm an "all-in" person when it comes to relationships. I don't look at the love I have to give as an 8-piece pie, I don't believe that I only have so much to go around and I'll eventually run out of love to give people. I'm someone who believes that every friend you have can be your best friend and love as freely as I can. I ugly-cry when it's time to part and dread goodbyes more than any other possible human experience.

I came to a point this week where it hurt too much. It may seem bizarre, but Beyond Measure and my roommates are my two families away from home--they're my best friends. I spend anywhere between 10-20 hours a week with BYM and while I get that not everyone is close with their roommates, my roommates this semester have been the biggest blessing in my life through one of the most difficult times I've gone through. I looked forward to coming home every night to spend time with them because they were my best friends. The people around me are my life. Relationships are everything to me.

I got to that point that I always get to at goodbyes when I hate love. I hate caring. I hate friendships. I hate trying my best to be a good friend. I ask myself why I allow myself to be so invested in people and friendships when they inevitably make you hurt. Life would be much easier if I just had surface-level relationships with everyone around me that never got too emotionally involved either way--for the good or bad. Is it really worth it to love?

So what?

In Rising Strong by Brene Brown, Brene says that when we step into an arena of life, where we need to be vulnerable, the only guarantee that we have is that we will get hurt.

To love completely, you have to be vulnerable and risk everything. The caveat with love is that there will be a period of absence at some point--no matter what. Situations are always changing--people graduate, get new jobs, and sadly pass away. And then there are the more painful situations where people change or relationships you would like to be different, aren't mutually benefiting. Whatever it might be, when you love plan to be hurt.

Now what?

Here's the thing that I wish we could all understand--it is okay not to be okay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being sad. There is nothing wrong with being depressed. There is nothing wrong with missing someone. There is nothing wrong with hurting.

I cringe when people give the whole you can choose to be happy thing because I disagree and academic research (See Authentic Happiness by Seligman) would support me. Happiness is not a switch you can flip. In fact, to always be happy would be completely contrary to the plan that God has created for us to be able to pass through sorrow to understand true joy. I think what people mean is that you can choose to be positive and make the situations you go through meaningful, fulfilling experiences. I think if we were to assess the lives of people that we thought were genuinely happy, we would find that their lives weren't 100% happy all the time but 100% meaningful and fulfilling.

That being said, while parting and going through changes in life will never be easy, I'm more than willing to go through those times of transition and pain to be able to hold on to the experiences that come with loving with your whole heart. It's scary and it's painful and there are no guarantees, but the moments that I have to cling to with the people that I love are irreplaceable.

And while that doesn't make me hurt or miss people any less, I have never regretted loving someone. In a world drowned in pain today, you truly can't say you love too much.

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  1. I can relate on so many levels. Love this. Love me some Brene Brown.