"'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
Well, is it?
We aren't born with an understanding of what love is and how to give and receive it. We're taught, either in positive or negative ways, how to express our emotions and show what we feel. There's no instruction manual, there are no guidelines. We learn based on what we do and do not receive from those that are closest to us. For example, a parent that shows their child affection is far more likely to raise a child that extends that to others. We are surrounded by influences that directly impact how we define the word "love."
There are many different ways that we are able to possess that emotion. Love is felt differently toward a child than a friend, and from a friend to a lover, and so on. The love that we feel for someone is an individual experience. No two people are exactly the same, just like no two ways of loving are the same. As time goes on, we adapt and morph to fit into the way life changes. People fall in and out of love every day, friendships end, and relationships are strained. Our emotions follow along with us and evolve in the same sense we do.
Love at times can feel like a drug, especially when you're newly "in love." It causes people to takes risks they normally wouldn't, causes clouded judgments, makes your heart race, and can give you the feeling of pure ecstasy. You feel high on life and never want it to stop. But life changes, and love changes along with it. It's easy to think in the beginning that relationships are easy, but the truth is, they're not. In time, the high fades away and the work begins. Not every couple makes it through the tough times and after a period of trying, give up. Hearts are broken, dreams are shattered, and somehow you have to find a way to press on. Was it worth it?
Friends come and go throughout our lives; sometimes the busy stress of daily living slowly creates a gap, sometimes there's a misunderstanding and bridges are burned, and still other times tragedy removes people from our lives without our consent. Having strong friendships is a vital part of getting through life. Knowing that you have someone to share yourself with, spend time with, and express your deepest secrets to is a precious thing that deserves being cherished. You would do anything for your BFF. Why? Because you love them. You share everything with each other, beautiful moments and difficult ones. Everything you do turns into a fond memory you often look back on. But unfortunately, friends don't always stick around for one reason or another and it can be difficult to get through the loss of someone you once depended on, no matter the reason. Your heart grows sore and it just plain hurts. Was it worth it?
Sometimes the only people you can truly depend on is your family. No matter how many lovers break your heart, no matter how many friends burn bridges, it's the one thing you can always fall back on. The best and worst memories often come from experiences shared with your family members. You've laughed together and cried together, shared joyful moments and times that felt like the world was going to end. The people you've loved your whole life grow old, get sick, and fade away. The pain can be unbearable and literally feel like someone has stabbed you in the heart. Was it worth it?
Every experience we go through, every relationship that comes our way, every time we care for someone and that care grows into love, we're at risk for that love to become a loss. I've always been a firm believer that without great risk, there isn't great reward. The pain of losing someone you love, no matter how you lost them, is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. It's heartbreaking, and changes everything about your world.
Loving someone changes you. There are beautiful moments and ones you wish you could erase from your mind, but no matter what, every time we love someone it's a learning experience. Love helps you grow and develop as a person, and every person you've loved in the past has taught you how to better love the people that come into your life in the future.
Is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? I think so. Loving someone is the biggest risk you can take in life, it can be amazing and beautiful and last forever, or it could end. Either way, you have to be open to the possibilities and embrace the unexpected changes that come your way.
So, what do you think? Is it better?