Have you ever loved someone who didn’t love you back?
Have you loved someone who broke you into immeasurable pieces?
Has anyone ever taken your love for granted?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you’ve likely felt as though you wasted time, energy, and love on that someone. You sometimes wish you could take your love back because they didn’t appreciate it enough to handle it with care. You wish you could’ve saved it for someone worthy.
The first time I loved someone who didn’t reciprocate, I felt all those same emotions. All those same regrets and resentments. All that unforgiving, unrelenting heartache.
I felt like he took something from me. As though love is available in short, finite supply.
For months I lamented the ways I’d been ruined. How so much attention and intention went down the drain. In an instant, those once exhilarating moments seemed worthless.
I considered all the guys I didn’t meet, that I could’ve met had my affection not been fixated on this particular object. What if I missed out on my person messing around with this dude and his uncertainty? That was my dominant thought. My time could’ve been better spent.
It was the extent to which I challenged myself — to be vulnerable, to be honest. People we love aren’t obligated to reciprocate. Yet, the effort of unrequited love is exhausting. It left me empty.
Before this, I was indifferent at best in relationships. I imagined how blissful things could have been had I gotten myself to this unprecedented space with the right partner. There’s someone out there who would’ve appreciated and embraced the release of my inhibitions. All I could think was how I finally did it, all for nothing.
This is how we get to a place of feeling as though we wasted our love on someone. Because it didn’t go the way we hoped despite investing so much of ourselves into the process. We think about the time and energy that seems futile in the absence of our desired results.
But love is never wasted emotion.
The love you give is just as much for you as it is the person you give it to.
To care for and consider the well-being of someone else does beautiful things inside of YOU. It makes you softer and kinder. It helps you view the world with new, more compassionate eyes.
To be vulnerable and offer your authentic self to another is triumph alone. We can be so guarded, so fearful of being hurt or judged, that we never allow ourselves the liberation that comes with just being who we are and loving someone unapologetically.
I’m better for having loved even those who didn’t love me back. For holding someone, even though I was not held. I’ve never been so open or felt so free.
Although I believe that to see and be seen, to meet and be met, and to give AND receive love is everything — the giving is where you grow.
Even if they didn’t appreciate it.
Even if they took advantage.
Even if it wasn’t reciprocated.
Never regret your courage to love.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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