Gentle Reminders Everyone Needs To Hear Right Now

This article is inspired by episode #27 of the In Your Feelings Podcast, a collaboration from Thought Catalog and Bianca Sparacino. Subscribe here:
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1. You don’t have to feel sorry for loving someone.

You don’t have to feel sorry for caring. For trusting that the people you gave your heart to were going to value it, and nurture it. You don’t have to feel like you made a mistake, like you need to be ashamed for believing in the goodness and the beauty of another human being. And I know that it can be really disorienting when you feel so deeply for those in your life, when love pours out of you like rain, when you feel so much potential, and so much hope, and then you are asked to set it down. I know what it feels like to hold that weight within yourself, to look at an almost or a relationship or the connection you felt with another person, to reminisce about the beginning, the beauty, the way you looked at them and just knew that they were going to affect your life, that they were going to be a special part of it. And I know what it is like to be here now, in the aftermath of that human being. And I know it hurts. And I know it can leave your heart feeling like a heavy and haunted thing. I know it can make you question yourself, I know it can make you feel like you needed to be more, or care more, or try more, just to make someone see the value in the love you were giving them.

But I also know that you deserve to be loved and chosen, not almost loved, or almost chosen. You deserve something pointed. You deserve something real. And at the end of the day, you also deserve to be proud of yourself for trying for something. You deserve to defend your heart, and the way you love, and how you show up here. Not every single person you feel something deep and meaningful with is going to stay. Some people come into our lives and they teach us how to love, how to hope, they show us that the goodness was always meant to find us, that it was always meant to stay. And some people, some people teach us how not to love. How not to settle. How to stand up for what we truly desire, how to choose ourselves for once, how to stop pouring into empty vessels, how to give that love back to ourselves. Either way, the lesson remains. And the scars remain. And the wounds remain. And the hurt and the hope remains. And it’s all within you, but it isn’t a testament of failure. It is a testament of faith. Because in a world that sometimes fails to love deeply, in a generation that always seems to be choosing distance over depth, you chose to believe in something. You chose to try for something. Despite the way you have been hurt in the past, you decided to crash your heart into someone who ignited something within it. You chose to hope for something. And that is nothing to be ashamed of. That is something to celebrate. That is something to protect.

2. The uncertainty right now is here to teach you.

I know the uncertainty feels scary right now. That you are grieving the loss of what you thought was normal, what you hoped for, what you wanted from this year. I know being asked to stay still, having so much changed within your lives so quickly, and so abruptly, in ways that feel overwhelming and mysterious, can be really heavy. I know that so many of you are afraid of this uncertainty, you have never felt it before. But I want you to connect with the fact that all of your life has been uncertain. Because no day is ever promised to you.

We can make all the plans, and have all the hopes, and dream of all the trips, and think about all the people we are going to meet, and we can think that we have it all figured out. That we are on our journey, that we know what makes us happy, and even if that’s not the case, that we are moving forward. That we are going in the direction of clarity, that we are going to have the opportunity to make sense of our purpose, and our hearts, and what we want in this world. We live life with so much certainty surrounding what is coming, sometimes we forget that we can only be certain of the now.

And I hope that doesn’t sound cliche, but this is why this resonates so deeply for me, in relation to the uncertainty that is happening in this world right now. Life has always been uncertain. My mother went to the doctors thinking that she pulled a muscle in her neck, and ended up being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She had so many plans. She had so many dreams. And so many hopes. She was empowered, and beautiful, and had this idea of what she wanted her life to look like. And then she got sick. Very out of the blue, in this abrupt and immense way. And from there — everything changed. Life simplified. She didn’t know how much time she had. She didn’t know what her future held anymore. She didn’t know if she would beat it, or if she would even wake up the next day. And that uncertainty, that not knowing, that feeling like life was suddenly so different than what she had wished for — at first it felt unfair. Like time was being taken away from her. Like she wanted to grip at her past concept of what was waiting for her in her future. And I think that is how a lot of you are feeling right now. Like so much was taken from you. Like you don’t know what is waiting on the other side of all of this.

And the truth is — you won’t ever know. That is one of the biggest lessons my mother taught me. Sometimes life goes to plan, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, the things you are the most certain about, end up dissipating or being taken from you or not coming to fruition. Slowly, I saw the fear and the confusion in my mother disappear. And instead of being angry, and feeling like she was cheated; instead of being saddened at how unstructured and how uncertain her life suddenly became, she became the most joy filled person I have ever met. She would open her eyes and genuinely rejoice that she had another day here, that she got to see another sunrise, that she got to hold my father’s hand just one more day, that she got to kiss our faces, and eat dinner as a family, and be present with us. Because that is what uncertainty gifts you. That is what happens when everything is challenged, and you really connect with the fact that you are alive. That tomorrow is never promised. That things will always be out of your control. That the only thing you can control is your gratitude — your gratitude for another day, your gratitude for having woken up, your gratitude for a warm cup of coffee or a beautiful moment with someone you love, your gratitude for your health, for shelter, for the fact that you were given another 24 hours to put your heart into this world.

Nothing in this life is certain. And this uncertainty is hard because it really drives that home. Uncertainty is hard because it reminds you that you are not in control. That things can change so quickly, that so much can be taken. But instead of focusing on those fears, I urge you to focus on what that means. I urge you to let it empower you to live each day in gratitude. Be present in your life. Be thankful that you are here, and know that you aren’t promised anything. Life is a mess you will never be able to contain. All you can do is crash your whole soul into it. All you can do is wake up happy for another day, another chance, to find even the smallest bit of beauty within it. So, go live accordingly.

3. Be patient with your hearts.

Do not rush your healing. Do not vilify yourself for taking longer to move on than you had hoped. Healing is not linear. In a society that seems to be so fixated on instant gratification, just be the person who accepts that moving on will not happen overnight. Do not try to dismiss your feelings, or sweep them under the rug. Take your time. Be gentle with yourself.

Because, the truth is, if you cared about someone, if you let them leave pieces of themselves littered within your memories, knotted to your heart, you are going to have to come to terms with the fact that you will not move on in an instant. You will slowly let go, in so many different ways, at different periods of your life, and there is no timeline for that because it is a deeply individual process.

And what I mean by that is — your healing will find you in places you never thought it would. You will let go in the obvious, tangible ways — in removing their things from your apartment, in taking down the photos from your wall, in learning how to sleep in the middle of the bed again, and so on. But there are also moments in life, unexpected and jarring, that will come out of nowhere and those will be healing moments, too. You will let go of them when you smell their perfume in public and it doesn’t make your stomach flip. You will let go of them when your song comes on the radio and it doesn’t scratch painfully at the memory of what it felt like to fall in love with them. You will let go of them when you hear that they were out with another person, that they are slowly opening their heart to the world again. You will let go when you decide to do the same. And this doesn’t mean that you are fully healed, but this means that you are taking the steps. That you are learning how to exist with the memory of them, that you are not trying to rush it out the door, but rather, you are learning how to be thankful for it, how to slowly appreciate it for what it has taught you without needing it back.

I hope you give yourself permission to be patient with your healing. This is your reminder that it is happening, even when it does not feel like it.

And within that same reminder of patience, I just want to remind you that love is not meant to hurt. That love can be soft. That you are not asking for too much in this world, or this generation, when you strive to find something foundational. Because don’t you deserve to find someone who chooses you the way you choose them? Don’t you deserve to find someone who reciprocates your love, who wants to hold you on your hard days, who wants to encourage your growth and see you realize your dreams and celebrate birthdays with you, and milestones with you, and make the sunniest kind of memories with you?

Don’t you deserve to find someone who wants to stand by your side, firmly, and know deeply in their heart that you are something special, that you are their favourite thing? Don’t you deserve to find someone who sees you — who actually sees you, in all that is light and all that is dark within you, in all of your mess and all of your virtue? Don’t you deserve someone who loves you there?

Don’t you deserve to find someone who knows, with a ruthless certainty, that they found the kind of human being they want to protect? The kind of human being they want to nurture, and encourage, and experience the smallest, most nameless things with? Don’t you deserve that kind of beauty? That kind of peace?

Don’t you deserve to find someone who shows up? Someone who wants to laugh with you in bed at 2am when you both can’t sleep. Someone who wants to wrap you up between their arms on a rainy day? Someone who wants to be the reason why a smile dances across your face? Someone who wants to make dinner with you, and slow dance in the kitchen with you, and squeeze your hand at the scary parts of the movie you’re watching together? Don’t you deserve someone who wants all of that? Someone who wants to be in your life? Someone who chooses depth over distance?

This is your reminder to let go of anything that does not serve that version of love in your life. And I know a lot of you need to hear this today. Give yourself permission to let go of anything that does not hold your heart. Let go of those who love you in halves, who will never be able to give you what you deeply desire. Do not hold space in your heart for those who are not showing up to claim it. Love is not pain. Love is not hurt. Love is good, and you deserve good love. Release anything that does not honor that. TC mark