Let me tell you something, my sweethearts.
Much, much sooner than your mama would like, you’ll start to face the hard stuff in relationships. I wish it wasn’t true, but it’s just part of the deal. It’s part of being human.
It kills me to think of the things you’ll go through. But I’ve been there myself, so I know. Some things, we experience over and over and over again, even when we’re old. I like to think it’s a testament to just how deeply we love other people. And trust me, you’ll be loved by countless people throughout this life. It’s a beautiful thing. But it also means there will be countless chances to get hurt.
Here’s my advice:
Somebody out there is not going to like you. And maybe you’ll never know why. Maybe there won’t even be a reason. But take it from me… it’s not worth it to dwell on it. Focus on the people who choose you.
Someone will turn out to be the “mean girl” you’ve heard so much about. And the reason will have almost everything to do with her, and little or nothing at all to do with you, and the reason will probably break your heart if you ever hear it.
I promise to teach you how to stand up for yourself. But I will also teach you compassion… because maybe a time will come when you can change a mean girl’s heart.
But, you know… as much as we work on it not being so, there might come a day when you’ll discover a mean girl or a bully hidden in YOU, just the same. Or maybe you’ll be a bystander. You’ll look upon cruelty and do nothing. Say nothing.
And that’ll be the hurt that sticks. That’s the one you’ll have to live with, no matter how much you’ll wish you could go back and make it right.
At some point, you’ll do or say something that you’ll regret for a very long time. Probably something stupid, something completely untakebackable, something to break somebody’s trust in you.
And someone you love will let you down, too. I’m afraid it’s just inevitable.
Being human means we make mistakes. Not one of us will get to the end with a perfect score. But the HURT is part of the story.
Through the hurt, we learn. And through the hurt, we heal. And through the hurt, we realize just what LOVE can do.
We discover that we need each other… that life is meant to be lived in tandem.
So, some advice?
Forgiveness is essential. So are boundaries. And they are not mutually exclusive.
Whatever happens, your most important human relationship is the one you have with yourself. Treat yourself well. And do your best to be the YOU that you are proud of.
Speak the truth, even when it’s hard. Stand up for what you believe in. Always right your wrongs and apologize genuinely, with your heart. Whether it’s accepted isn’t your choice, but it is your place to let them know they didn’t deserve the hurt.
Sometimes, even your closest friendships will run a natural course… and end. It’s no one’s fault. Sometimes, somehow, even the littlest rift becomes an ocean between two people. And even if both are willing to try to get back to one another, sometimes you find that you’ve both changed so much that no amount of swimming can bring you together. I want you to know… it’s okay to let it go. It doesn’t lessen the love that lived there before. It’s not even gone; it still lives on in memory.
This world we live in is broken, my loves, and we’re all a little bit broken inside it. But part of what makes it all so special is that we get to fight to make it better. We get to fight to BE better, all the time.
Kinder, braver, more compassionate. More ourselves. More eager to see others for who they are and for what they need. More willing to fight for what’s right.
So keep looking up, my sweethearts. But never hesitate to lay your head down on my shoulder when you’re tired. I’m always here for you.
Life might be a chaotic mess, but it’s ours, and it’s ours together. It’s a life that’s built from goodness. And from friendship. And from love.
And doesn’t that make it all so beautiful?