When I was about 18, I met a girl who changed my life. She opened my eyes to a part of the world – a part of life – that I didn't know existed.
This was the first time that I ever fell in love, and it was the deepest I have ever fallen in love. The frequency and intensity with which I felt, anything, was something I didn't believe possible – I honestly didn't know that a person could feel so incredibly happy and horribly miserable.
Finding the right person, a person you want to spend your life with, is the greatest accomplishment one can achieve. Yet, the unfortunate truth is that the right person doesn't always come at the right time. And that makes all the difference.
You're not guaranteed to find the right person at the wrong time, but it can happen. I'm living proof. I understand you may be thinking that if you met the right person, the person you loved with all your soul, things would just work out.
We see it in all the movies. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. And they live happily ever after – roll credits. How wonderful it would be if the world were so simple.
In reality, human beings are emotionally complicated and because we're so emotionally complicated, we manage to make situations complicated. Even if you do find the right person, if you aren't the right person you yourself need to be, the relationship will fail.
Relationships don't only fail because the person you're with turns out to be the wrong person; they also fail when you yourself aren't yet the person you need to be. If you aren't yet capable of being in a loving relationship then the two of you are doomed.
You will most likely implode emotionally and take it out on the person you love. This goes for the person you love as well – if this person isn't at the point in life where he or she can be a loving and devoted partner, the relationship won't work either. There are so many ways a relationship can fail, it's amazing that we aren't all alone.
Many people will make excuses for why they aren't in a place in their lives that’s conducive to a healthy relationship. Many will argue that they need to focus on their careers. Some will argue that they still want to explore life and spend more time flying solo before settling down.
Others will even convince themselves that the love they've felt for so long wasn't true love. They will twist their emotions and memories to make themselves believe that it was more of an illusion than anything else, a dream they need to wake up from. Yet, these are all excuses that veil the truth.
The honest truth is that whether you can admit it to yourself or not, you are not capable of loving – not the way the other person needs to be loved. We should only allow ourselves to settle for one sort of love. The sort of love that is all-consuming, intoxicating, passionate and, at the same time calm, collected, caring and supportive.
We should only settle for a love that embodies the definition in its purest form: to love fully, deeply and selflessly – or rather, as selflessly as humanly possible. I'm not talking about the love of fairytales. I'm talking about the most ideal love that people can possibly be a part of.
Now, the problem when you do find the right person is that you may not yet be willing to give up a part of yourself – because that is what you're going to have to do.
You are surrendering a part of yourself to your lover. You are giving up on certain things, making concessions and compromises in order to give yourself to the other person. You are devoting a chunk of your life, your thoughts, your dreams and your future to them.
The deepest, purest love is the love shared when both individuals give a piece of themselves to the other, but not entirely without expectation. We may not command anything in return, but because we are only human, we expect our love to be reciprocated.
More so, because we do love our partners, we want them to have the love that they deserve. So what do you do when you love a person knowing you cannot be the person he or she needs you to be?
What do you do when you find the right person, but cannot love that person the way he or she deserves to be loved? If we aren't willing to make the tradeoffs then there is really only one thing you can do… you have to let that person go.
Letting a person you love go is the most difficult decision you can make in your life. The worst part is that the longer you are apart, the more you come to realize how difficult it is – the more you realize how much you actually love that person.
I haven't seen or spoken to that girl I met nearly a decade ago in years. And I still know that a part of me does, and always will, love her. Thinking about a person every day of your life that you know you will never be with is a hell of its own. But it's okay.
It's okay because it is a part of life. It's a learning experience like no other. Some of you will fall in love with the right person to find that it is the right time. But some of you will go through what I go through.
I just hope that you have the strength to keep going, not to give up on yourself. You may have had to give up on your relationship with that person, but you can find love again.
You have to believe that you can because it is possible. It is possible to find another right person and to find him or her at the right point in your life. It's happened to many and will happen to many more. I have to believe that it will happen for me just as you have to believe it will happen for you.
There is no worse way to live life than to live it while giving up on the prospect of love. Love is the only purpose worth living for.
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