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One of my biggest lessons of this year seems to be that love is a mindf*ck.
Love is infuriating.
It’s confusing and painful and heartbreakingly divine—and totally, completely out of our control.
When I find myself lost in the quagmire of romance, I turn to the words of writers and musicians and thinkers to soothe my soul. To sink my teeth into what love is and how to love and why we do this crazy thing called love.
I hope their words break your heart—just a little:
1. “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow—this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
2. “You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” ~ Jodi Picoult
3. “Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them—we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.” ~ Brené Brown
4. “Grief is love’s souvenir. It’s our proof that we once loved. Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! Love was once mine. I love well. Here is my proof that I paid the price.” ~ Glennon Doyle
5. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” ~ Herbert Kretzmer
6. “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi
7. “You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.” ~ Cheryl Strayed
8. “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdrich
9. “Love is only available to those willing to be continually brave in weakness.” ~ Waylon Lewis
10. “To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
11. “Love will never be certain, but after collecting thousands of stories, I’m willing to call this a fact: A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all men, women, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” ~ Brené Brown
12. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” ~ Stephen Chbosky
13. “The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherf*cking sh*t out of love.” ~ Cheryl Strayed
14. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ~ C.S. Lewis
15. “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” ~ Eden Ahbez
16. “Someone who does not run toward the allure of love walks a road where nothing lives. But this dove here senses the love hawk floating above, and waits, and will not be driven or scared to safety.” ~ Rumi
17. “Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo.” ~ Cheryl Strayed
18. “I would like to say that your beauty made it difficult to breathe.” ~ Waylon Lewis