Here's the thing: Being in a relationship is terrifying, because being in a relationship means you have to trust someone. Implicitly. With everything. With your heart. With your dreams. With your fears. With your weaknesses. With your future and your past. All the parts of yourself that you love and hate. Everything. You're letting them into your life in good faith. The hope is that this person won't wake up one morning and change their mind... or worse, take it upon themselves to sabotage your entire life while taking shots at your greatest vulnerabilities on the way out.
I mean, that's why love is so scary, right? We are basically willingly giving someone access to the emotional equivalent of our browser history, and every day they decide to stick around is a sigh of relief that they haven't decided to blackmail you... yet.
And that's why we're all so guarded. Because we've trusted before. We've opened up. And then we got burned. And with each new attempt at trust, we become a little more guarded. We open up a little less, and a little less. And suddenly we have become someone we're not. We've become a shell of ourselves, hiding behind the barriers of cynicism and spite.
Suddenly we are using every act of infidelity, every unkind word, every kind deed gone unnoticed, as bricks of validation in the ever-growing walls of anti-vulnerability that we are building around us.
"See? He cheated! I was right! You can't trust men."
"She shot me down. She didn't even give me a chance. What a bitch."
"It's not you, it's me."
With each brick we quietly reassure ourselves that we don't need anyone else. That our life is better, happier, more free from pain, resentment, and hurt when we live alone behind these walls. Every unfortunate act is used as proof that we're right to remain within our fortress of bitterness and resentment. And we all know how good it feels to be right.
The problem is that when you're living this way, you're not right. You're wrong. But we don't like to be proven wrong...
I think it's time for a change.
This trust - that thing we're all so scared of... the one we're all doing such a good job hiding from - is the foundation of love. So, here we sit behind our walls, cowering and lonely. Each one of us is waiting for love to break through the layers of skepticism and bitterness and doubt that we've spent so much time erecting for ourselves. We want love to fight its way to us without having to risk or expose ourselves to pain and betrayal.
And yet, as long as the walls stand, love cannot, and will not find you.
The only solution is for you to destroy the walls from the inside.
You must begin to trust again. Trust everyone. Trust them until they show you they can't be trusted. And then trust them one more time for good measure. Trust them until it hurts. Because, guess what? Despite the fact that yes, sometimes it will hurt, people are generally good, and kind, and loving. Their goodness will surprise you. You'll start to see it pop up around you everywhere you go.
It takes courage to live without the walls. You are courageous.
It takes strength to be the first to trust. You are strong.
It takes heart to risk being hurt for a shot at love. You have heart.
It's time to approach relationships with the expectation that you can trust someone fully, and that you, in turn, can be trusted fully. It's time to assume the best in others. It's time to let them prove you right over and over again. Because being proven right is so much better than being proven wrong.