I hope you close your eyes, take a deep breath, and step towards the person who has your heart. I hope you stop worrying, stop over-thinking, stop imagining what could go wrong or picturing your life on rewind, back to the person who broke you.
I hope you stop questioning, stop waiting for an answer, stop listening to the crazy voices in your head cautioning you to hold out just a minute longer. I hope you stop standing on the edge, too afraid to fall. Because you’re missing out on everything that could be so damn beautiful.
I hope you let go. I hope you lean in. I hope you give your hand, your heart, your entire being to the person who longs to share a life with you. And I hope you jump—share yourself vulnerably and fully and freely because that’s love—freedom, faith and finding a new sense of self in the arms of someone else.
I hope you love like you’ve never been hurt.
We all have our baggage, our pasts, our painful stories. We’ve all had relationships where we gave too little or too much, where we tried to fill holes we just couldn’t, where we stretched ourselves too thin trying, so desperately, to feel like enough. We all have lovers who took everything they could from us, who emptied the wells we created, the ones we filled day after day with self-love and security. We all have connections that changed us, that made us fearful or bitter or guarded or removed.
We’ve all been hurt before, scarred by someone or something that resembled love.
But don’t be afraid to care again—innocently, purely. Don’t be afraid to love with a fierceness, with a fearlessness, with a faith that cannot be shaken. Don’t be afraid to let someone in, show them your bruises, the places where the skin still stings. Don’t be afraid to open, to break walls, to remove barriers you’ve kept so tightly around your heart.
If you’re going to love again, I hope you love loudly this time. I hope you shatter every fear, every past pain, every tinted memory. And I hope you love as if you’ve never been broken. As if this is your first time all over again, and there’s not a doubt in your mind.
I hope, when you have the chance at something real, you go for it without hesitation. When there’s someone standing in front of you, and you know it could be something beautiful, you don’t scroll back through a memory loop of all the times your relationships failed or people walked out. I hope, instead, you realize that this is a new person, a new connection, a new opportunity that isn’t like anything you’ve had or held before.
And I hope that gives you the strength to step forward, to step off that edge, to jump.
Because love is beautiful when you let go, when you stop clouding it with the past, when you allow it to bloom and grow and become whatever it’s meant to, without holding it back. Love is beautiful when you acknowledge that each connection, each relationship, each person you encounter is unique and complex and filled with new pages, new stories to be written.
Love is beautiful when you stop trying to manipulate it, or unconsciously weave a new version back into a painful part of your past.
Love is beautiful when you stop carrying baggage, carrying extra weight, carrying brokenness from someone who is no longer in your life and should have no bearings on the person you are becoming.
Love is beautiful when you decide to finally let go, and love like you’ve never been hurt.
And I hope you do just that—jump—and soar.
Marisa Donnelly is a poet and author of the book, Somewhere on a Highway, available here.