As I sat there crying to my parents about the latest way my heart had been broken by a boy who didn’t know any better, my dad said something that I’ve never forgotten:
“All I want is for you to wait until you find the man who looks at you the way I still look at your mom.”
More often than not, I would confuse “the look” with lust and the dating casualties continued to rack up. I eventually vowed solitude and committed to the single life for the rest of time.
The man who walked into my office one morning seemed to know better though.
It was one of those moments when your heart stops, your mind races, and words seem to be almost impossible to find. I wasn’t ready to cave on my newfound celibacy, but he was patient. He knew that there was no way we could ignore that our worlds were colliding.
He was the gentlemen I had heard about but never thought I’d come across. He could make me laugh in that uncontrollable way that you reserve for only your closest friends. He valued what I had to say and respected all my dreams, no matter how wild or out of the blue. He dove into the depths of my soul until he knew everything that made me tick and how to offer solace on my darkest days.
Looking into his eyes, I could see the future unfold. He was the man my mom would love and my dad would be proud of.
I felt like my heart had finally returned home.
Then, he was gone.
It’s probably safe to say that we all have that one love who got away. The one who makes us ask, “What if?” The love that woke us up and showed us what it means to give and receive unconditional love.
It’s the love that makes our heart ache when we find ourselves alone. We start to believe that we will never find that kind of love again. Maybe we f*cked up. Maybe we should have fought a little harder or done things differently. We marinate in the questions, in the heartbreak of not being the one they chose as their forever.
But that’s not fair.
Instead of getting stuck in the longing, the missing, the heartache, we need to honour everything this love taught us. We must rejoice in the fact that we were lucky enough to experience this person, to feel every single emotion they brought out in us.
How beautiful is it to love so deeply that nothing feels like it will ever compare?
This man set the bar so high from the beginning, that being with him showed me exactly what I wanted—and what I deserved. So I waited. And I waited some more. But it was worth it. The love we shared deserved that; it deserved for each of us to find someone who soared so high above the bar that we had set, that nothing else could ever exceed it.
So instead of missing these people—these loves—thank them. Honour them by never settling for anything less than what you both know you deserve. Make them proud by valuing yourself as much as they did when you were together.
And when that person comes along who rocks you to your core, sweeps you off your feet, takes your breath away—and looks at you the way my dad still looks at my mom—quietly thank that lost love for helping to build you into the person who can now love with every ounce of your soul.
If it weren’t for our past experiences and heartbreaks, we couldn’t possibly know how capable we are of loving and showing up in a healthy relationship.
Author: Amanda Hanna
Image: Timothy Paul Smith/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron