To love or not to love, that is the question. When I fall in love, I fall hard, I fall fast and I fall recklessly. Needless to say, I’m not the best at protecting my heart and, in turn, it’s been broken on hundreds of occasions. I’m not just talking about the heartache that comes along with a significant other – I’ve been heart broken by friends, parents, family members… even the homeless man in the West 4th Subway station (I’ll get to that later).
I think the reason why I love the way that I do is attached to how I was raised. I grew up very alone, desperately trying to please my parents—on one hand, my mother was very strict and had a bad temper and on the other, I didn’t see my father much so when I did, I obviously wanted it to be pleasant.
When you grow up in a household all alone and you’re in elementary school and you find someone that shows any signs of warmth, you hold on to that as tightly as possibly, not wanting to let go. Elementary school turns into middle school, middle school turns into high school, high school turns into college and college turns into work, but those emotions engrained from youth don’t evolve.
The heartache is always the same, just in different forms. Your so-called best friend finds a cooler friend, your boyfriend finds someone that will give it up faster, your parent finds someone they love more, the friendly homeless man that smiled at you that one day now just grunts as you pass—I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the picture.
Having my heart rattled so many times, today I questioned the purpose of love. Why do we even need it? It only ends in disappointment. Why am I going to keep putting myself out there if I just get hurt every time? It’s not worth it. Wait—Is it worth it?
While I was contemplating the importance of love, I was scraping the Internet for depressing quotes about heartache – you know, the usual… oh wait, you don’t do that? That’s awkward. Anyway, I came across an Alexander Dumas quote that I found impeccably honest and truthful. He said, “There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to life. The sum of all human wisdom can be contained in these two words: Wait and Hope.”
In other words, it is essential to love, for the heartache that comes along at the end exhibits the reason for living. While there is no real answer to how to protect your heart, one can only wait it out and hope for better in the future. Not only should one hope, but also make a conscious effort to live a happier life, regardless of the people in your life. If you make yourself happy, it is harder for someone else to break your heart. So you should love, but before you love anyone else, love yourself first and foremost.