Don't Close Off Your Heart: Listen To It

Don’t Close Off Your Heart: Listen To It

I'm not going to pretend that life is always going to be sunshine and daisies, dear readers. The simple fact of the matter is that sometimes life sucks, and it sucks hard. I'm not sure that there is an emotional experience more frustrating, heart-wrenching, guilt-tripping, or generally horrible than unrequited love. If you remember feeling like Rosaline in Romeo and Juliet – the brief object of his whims only to be side-lined for the flashier, younger model – then you're in the right place. It is so hard to find value and validation in who you are as a person without reciprocal feedback from another person. Indeed, if your feelings of worthiness stem from the emotional support of another person, as so often it does, that person is, for better or worse, responsible for your state of mind and sense of self.

This isn't fair on anyone, and don't we know it as we angst and stress about the lack of emotional reciprocation we're receiving, all the while lamenting that it's not necessarily even their fault. That's always the kicker that the people causing such emotional distress and pain aren't actually aware they're doing it. The quest for a satisfying and enduring, comfortable love is a long journey, and often one that doesn't have a specific endpoint. Certainly, 'enduring love' cannot be achieved through sheer force of will.

Oh, but haven't we tried!

But you aren't alone! I promise you that there are millions of people around the world and close to you that feel exactly the same way; helpless, confused, frustrated, and like you're 'lacking' something fundamental. That feeling doesn't even necessarily go away when you're in a relationship, and there are no two ways about it. Love is hard. But it's even harder when you don't feel loved.

1. We don't need to be strong and self-sufficient all the time. I know another basic human instinct is to protect ourselves and remain quite private with our sufferings. However, we must learn to keep ourselves open and acknowledge when we are feeling isolated or upset. We need to be able to communicate when we feel we aren't being supported, not feel ashamed of what is sometimes perceived as a 'lack of self-sufficiency'. We need to ensure that we can desire love without any stigma of not being progressive or forward-thinking. All living organisms hunt in packs! The animals that live alone simply don't thrive in the same way as communities, so we can't expect to either by pretending that we don't want to be loved.

2. We need to let our guards down – do you guys remember what it feels like to go home to your family for the holidays when you sit by a warm fire and get fed to within an inch of your life by your slightly overbearing mother and father? That's what we acclimatise to as children, and it's right that we should desire it as adults. These feelings are valid and rooted in social structures that have pervaded for centuries.

Desiring romance is not weak or 'anti-feminist'

It shouldn't need to be said, but it does. I'm going to say it again louder for those of you that didn't hear it at the back: whatever your political agenda or goals, no way of life or worldview should invalidate your need to be loved. We're fighting for equality for all, not isolation and island-mentality.

I can already tell that you guys are rolling your eyes at me. And yet, you clicked on the article, so you're ready to be convinced. Well, I'm only too happy to oblige in reminding everyone to represent that there is a Person for everyone out there. Not necessarily a one-size-fits-all soulmate that aligns perfectly with every aspect of your being, you don't even know yourself yet, how could we expect someone else to?

What I'm saying is, we've all been so enduringly taught to subscribe to the need to find flaws in ourselves. Basically, any deviation from what has been established as the norm (straight white, rich male) is painted unalterably as a flaw. Sometimes, the flaw can be fixed; solved with some capitalistic consumption and confidence. Other times, however, we absorb into our personality a defence mechanism whereby we can protect ourselves with self-deprecating humour and a tendency towards isolating ourselves when things get hard. As a result of all of this, many of us have been conditioned to view our flaws as things people can use against us.

Weaknesses that make us unloveable or undesirable, or fundamentally unworthy

Hang tight, dear readers, because I'm about to go on a deep dive into everyone's diary entries from 2012 to the present… "I'm not good enough. Attractive enough. No one will ever know me. No one will ever love me."

Nah. Not a chance in hell is that true.

That's all well and good saying it, but how do you know?

A quick and easily googleable statistic for you guys: there are approximately 7.7 billion people in the world. Depending on which way you swing, your geographical location, and sexual orientation, you've got a few billion at your disposal. Yes, you can't see all of them or know or even conceive of such a huge number, but it's good news.

When we feel alone, unloved, or unloveable, we will do well to remember that in a batting average out of that many people, all of whom are looking for love just like we are, we're bound to hit a few home runs. You probably have a few stadiums worth of people that would love to get to know you.

We are just taught from day one that unless you look like 90s Jennifer Anniston, it's a no go

Well, my friends, most of us don't look like 2019 Jen, and there's nothing wrong with that. But yet, people still find love. People open their hearts to being vulnerable and emotionally available and essentially are willing to fall flat on their face and get hurt because they know it's worth it.

So there! Leave your insecurity behind and listen to what your heart is telling you!