Maybe you need to start taking more time after you meet someone to determine if they truly care about you or if they’re just fooling you. Maybe you should test the waters before you jump in with both feet.
Maybe you should stop believing people when they tell you all the right things and wait for them to show you that they mean it instead.
Maybe you shouldn’t try to find the one on dating apps swiping left and right. Maybe you need to stop trying so hard to reassure yourself that you have options when all you truly need is one.
Maybe you need to stop playing games every time you like someone — maybe you need to start being more straight-forward and honest instead of losing every time you play the game.
It’s time to treat your heart more gently. It’s time to stop lying to it. It’s time to listen to it instead of breaking it every time you give it away so recklessly.
It’s time to respect your heart and acknowledge that your heart doesn’t respond to anything that isn’t deep or passionate and it doesn’t beat for anyone except for those who truly move it. Your heart doesn’t understand inconsistency, manipulation or deceit. It only understands love. It only recognizes what’s real.
Because no matter how strong your heart is, it eventually breaks. No matter how forgiving your heart is, it gets tired. No matter how self-sufficient your heart is, it still needs love.
And if you keep being reckless with your heart and playing with it, you will end up losing it and once you lose your heart, you lose yourself.
So you have to protect it next time, don’t give it away so easily, don’t let anyone in, don’t let people use it or take it for granted. Don’t give your heart to those who are heartless and don’t try to love someone who doesn’t want to be loved — because you’ll believe that your heart is big enough to change other hearts but sometimes that’s the most reckless thing you can ever do.
Sometimes pouring your heart out to people over and over again makes you feel empty.
There’s a big difference between brave and reckless.
Your heart should be brave and open to love but only to those who are brave enough to embrace it but don’t be reckless with it.
Protect your heart from those who don’t appreciate it. Protect your heart from those who are reckless with theirs. Protect your heart from those who try so hard to win it only to leave once they have it.
Rania Naim is a poet and author of the new book All The Words I Should Have Said, available here.