When I was sixteen a friend told me it scared her how easy it was for me to love people. She said a soft heart is rare and mine was incredibly soft. She told me that it was beautiful, but inevitably the love my heart had would be unrequited and she hoped that wouldn’t turn it hard and bitter.
We all have hearts shaped in different ways. Many have been beaten and battered, needing a cast to heal itself back whole again. But when its been beaten and battered, our heart never returns to its original shape. It heals into a new form with scars and bruises, and it will refuse to forget, affecting the way it beats through love.
Our hearts, being all different shapes and sizes, are capable of love in different ways. One heart that loves is no better than another, but sometimes two hearts don’t love in the same way and things can get messy. I often find that this is the case with my heart when it crosses paths with others. My heart is big and large and open. It yearns for new hearts to know and love. And once my heart loves, it never stops. But not all hearts are able to love this way.
I told my first and only serious boyfriend I loved him a month after we started dating and he broke up with me a week later. I’ve lost numerous friends in the past solely due to the fact that I loved too much and they loved just enough. Right now my heart knows and loves another, and it has for some time, but the other heart isn’t there with mine.
I cry a lot about this other heart. It hurts to know that it doesn’t love mine back. My heart feels bruised and broken when it’s unanswered. So I get angry and hard on myself. I get cruel to my heart. I ask why it feels so inclined to love things that can’t love it back. Then I get angry at the other heart and wonder why the hell it can’t just love the way mine does or why it can’t just let mine go. But that’s not fair.
Everything in our past shapes and heals our heart in different ways. Mine was shaped in ways that yours wasn’t just as yours was shaped in ways that hers wasn’t. But every heart is beautiful whether it’s capable of loving the same way mine is or not and I need to stop forgetting that.
Don’t be hard on your heart – it’s beating the way it knows how. It might not always beat on the same rhythm as another’s, and that has the potential to make your heart grow hard, but don’t let it. Don’t let your heart grow small.
Let yourself love the way your heart knows how, whether it’s returned in the same way or not. My heart loves one that doesn’t love it back, but that’s special and beautiful because it still loves despite the breaks and the bruises and the scars.
When I get hard on myself for my heart’s inclination to love everything around it, I’ll read this poem by Rupi Kaur that makes all the sense in the world –
“most importantly love
like it’s the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this means nothing
where you’re sitting
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them”