Dear Lizzy, When Do I Give Up On Love?

Dear Lizzy, 

How can I understand the difference between a hopeful heart and a foolish pursuit?

Thank you for helping me.


I’ve Been Edified In Matters of the Heart

Dear Sanna,

Your question reminds me of the times throughout my life where I found myself alone and tired, holding my bleeding heart in my hands in disbelief at the magnitude of the wreckage. I recall that each time I sat crying on the floor of whatever apartment or bathroom I found myself in, I wished for someone to wrap their arms around me and tell me I was not a fool for following my heart.

I often asked, “How can it be that when I follow my heart, I still end up here?”

These are what some call a crisis of faith moment, or as Joseph Campbell put it in The Hero’s Journey, it is when the hero approaches the cave of darkness and faces their greatest fears and challenges. Is the pursuit worth this pain? Are these trials and tribulations a signal that I am on the wrong path or simply the challenges one faces in the pursuit of anything of great meaning? Am I up for this challenge, or is it time to move on? The unfortunate and fortunate truth is that to know whether to continue or not is a very personal thing. There is no guide or guru, no scripture or rule book that can tell you when it is time to give up. So, I will do my best to try and walk with you through the dark cave and offer some light.

First, I want to simply say, child, you are the most worthy of love. If your big beautiful heart has not heard that in a while, please feel my arms wrapped tightly around you while I gently whisper, “My beautiful girl, you are so loved.” Something in your words tells me you believe you’ve been hurt by your hopeful heart, that you find her untrustworthy. Perhaps you’re tired of “being made a fool” by putting your heart on the line only to find that people don’t know how to care for her. Oof, I see you and I honor you.

I find those of us with hopeful hearts often need to show others how to love us. Do you know what you need? Do you know how you desire to be loved? Are you demanding it from yourself and the world? Maybe you are seeking some steadiness and consistency, something grounding and reassuring. My dear, you certainly deserve those things, and I believe that before someone else can take such steady care with your heart, you must be her steady caretaker.

This can sometimes mean we become her protector, creating a moat around her that gives us some space and time to decide if someone is allowed access. This is much different than an armor around or a locking up of the heart. We don’t keep love away with this barrier as much as we decide what kind of love we want to let in.

Are you loving yourself wildly?

Have you accepted who you are? Or are you still holding her hostage for the foolish pursuits of her past? One thing I have learned in matters of the heart is that when I dare to have hope, I must risk being the fool. They seem to go hand in hand. And what is a fool really? Other than a woman who is willing to risk her heart and accept her fate. What if instead of working so hard to find the answer, you accepted your foolishness? So you’re a fool! How courageous of you to put yourself out there. To hope is to embark on a journey of the unknown.

It is a relinquishing to the higher powers, a letting go of sorts. It requires a resilience to your doubt and a resistance to the judgment casting shadows inside your mind. The judge seeks certainty. And with all matters of the heart, there are no guarantees. With her attempts to control, she thinks she can help you avoid those hard feelings of disappointment and heartbreak that sit waiting for you in the future when love lets you down, as the judge believes the heart is prone to do.

What are you so afraid of feeling, my dear?

What if you knew yourself to be strong enough to handle whatever comes? How might you be keeping yourself from the joys and magic of love by attempting to protect yourself from future pain and abandonment? What is possible when you embrace your foolish nature and your hopeful heart and you lean all the way in, without judgment?

Trust that you are safe to love. Trust that you are safe to be loved. Trust that even if one day the love disappears and you are left holding the pieces of your broken heart in your hands, that you will know exactly what to do to put your heart back together again. Perhaps that’s where you are now, inside your castle, gluing your heart back together while a moat gets built around you and you begin to decipher the kind of love you want to allow in.

And what might happen when you define that love, imagine it boldly, and believe you are worthy of that love?

I invite you to take out a piece of paper and write, “The love I’d like to allow in” at the top. Then I want you to list all of the ways you want to receive love. Is it funny? Light? Strong? Determined? Gentle? Warm? Steady? Visit this list every morning for a little while and see what begins to show up.

You are safe to be loved, my dear; you are worthy of the love you seek, and furthermore, you are safe to trust your hopeful heart.

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