“Be tender-hearted, and be strong-hearted..”

Those were about the last words my mentor gave me before our season ended, and one of the deepest lessons I am still learning in life.

I find that the more we move on in age, the more we seem to face the reality that people are not forever – change is the pinnacle of constancy for us as we all traverse through the dimension of time.

And as people change, usually the ones that hurt us are the ones that walk out of our lives, and I am certain there is almost no stranger to such a grief.

Often, this never happens in an instant, it usually is a gradual numbing, until one side of a relationship just becomes a ghost of who they used to be, a faint outline dotted with memories, the sort that one needs to struggle to ascertain if they were even real.
And before you realise it, someone whom you thought would be there for life, closes the door on you.

Hurt does things to people: We shut off our world to others, we build our walls higher, we dig motes around ourselves. Yeah, we still have friends, but now everyone is suspect.

Hurt jams the mind into overdrive: What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough? Do my friends love me for real, or is this just a huge sick joke being played on me? Who is next to hurt me?

I think it is perfectly natural to feel those things, no one has the right to fault you – the hurt is real. But I would dare contest to say that wouldn’t be the best way to live life from there on out, an emotional hermit crab.

No one has the right to fault you because, honestly, no one can force you to love – or not love – someone else. They don’t live in your skin.

Likewise for the person who hurt you – this is a choice they have made on their own, and nothing you do could’ve prevented that. The wound they left deserves time to be healed, but at no point in time was it because you were not good enough. Of course, make sure you did no wrong or harm to them either.

As for you, one person’s choice to stop loving you should not implicate your choice to love others.

That is being tender-hearted: To understand that the power to love lies in your hands, and hopefully you find it within you to see that people need love.

And being strong-hearted is this: To fully accept that people change, and should they walk out on us, we remember that love is their choice, and it is ours as well – being strong means having the fortitude to continue loving others well.

“One day it’s here and then it’s gone… how are you still holding on?”
(“One Day”, Kodaline)

It is so easy to be jaded with life and relationships, but I hope that never taints the way you see people.

Dedicated to some of my dear friends who are hurting – I know your hurt, but be tender-hearted, and be strong-hearted. To love others is your choice; make the most of it.❤️

This article was first published on Weiren’s blog and was republished with permission.