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Many years ago and many years after my breakup with him, my mom asked me if I was over him.
I was positive that I recovered from his absence, and, in fact, my life took an entirely different trajectory back then. I didn’t think twice about my answer. With confidence and certainty, I said, “Yes, of course, I’m over him!”
Just when I finished uttering these six words, my body exhibited an opposing reaction. I felt my tears building up and my eyes slowly getting watery. I remember hiding my face with my hair because I was pretty sure I said I was over him. What’s up with the tears?
Many years later, this moment stays with me. Thinking about it now, I was indeed over him, but maybe a part of him stayed with me without my consent. My memory was triggered and the only way it could express itself was through my eyes.
I should have cried that day. I shouldn’t have hidden my face from my mom. I should have grieved his absence, even though I was no longer craving his presence.
We’ve all been there. Maybe once. Maybe twice. Maybe even more. We’ve all loved and lost, and we’ve all tried hard to eradicate any emotional residues left within our bodies, minds, and hearts. At that time, I thought I had lost him, but I had no idea that I would be gaining myself.
Maybe love is all about gaining after all—not losing. When we love and lose, we gain a new experience. A fresh perspective. A new emotion. A new life. And maybe, as Paulo Coelho says, we gain the person we have lost because we know they will never be ours.
And when someone isn’t ours, our love then might become complete. Not perfect—since it lacks physical presence—just complete.
If you have ever loved and lost, these 10 Paulo Coelho quotes will always ring true.
“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.”
“Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”
“After all, what is happiness? Love, they tell me. But love doesn’t bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it’s a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it’s sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we’re doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.”
“People give flowers as present because flowers contain true meaning of love. Anyone who tries to possess a flower will have to watch its beauty fading. But if you simply look at a flower in the field, you’ll keep it forever. That is what the forest taught me. That you will never be mine, and that is why I will never lose you.”
“My heart might be bruised, but it will recover and become capable of seeing beauty of life once more. It’s happened before, it will happen again, I’m sure. When someone leaves, its because someone else is about to arrive—I’ll find love again.”
“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.”
“If you love someone, you must be prepared to set them free.”
“Now that she had nothing to lose, she was free.”
“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”
“That is why it is so important to let certain things go. To release them. To cut loose. People need to understand that no one is playing with marked cards; sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.”