What You Need To Hear If You've Been Holding Yourself Back From Love

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For a while, I avoided relationships like the plague. I was the queen of not seeing someone past the three-date mark, and I was totally happy with summer flings or hookups abroad. It wasn't a façade, either. For a while, I was genuinely happy living my life this way, and there was nothing wrong with it.

As I started getting more in tune with myself and who I was, I realized that although there was nothing wrong with the lifestyle I was living, it was wrong for me. You see, I'm what they call an empath.

Dr. Judith Orloff describes empaths as, “highly sensitive, finely tuned instruments when it comes to emotions. They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme, and are less apt to intellectualize feelings.”

For the longest time, this heightened sensitivity terrified me, and I did everything in my power to mute it. I did it to the point of becoming emotionally disconnected in almost any encounter I had with the opposite sex. In my mind, if I went through the motions, but didn't open my heart, I was in control.

Here's a tip for you readers who connect with being an empath or just being the person who loves more: Teaching yourself to disconnect emotionally is not healthy. It might work for a little while, but over time, I realized I wasn't experiencing the types of relationships I truly cared about.

I didn't realize this about myself until very recently, when I came out of a relationship with my heart shattered in a million pieces. I didn't hide the sensitive parts of myself or shy away from my feelings, and he shared them with me. Seven months after our relationship ended, I thought I had moved on, until I went back to the place where it all began and found myself sobbing uncontrollably in a bar.

Since then, I've done a lot of soul-searching. I've written, I've meditated, I've had tears running down my face in the middle of a yoga class and I've come out stronger. I've learned that being the person who loves more in a relationship is OK. In fact, I embrace it.

I'm proud of being that person because that person isn't afraid, and she doesn't hide. She's real, honest and so open that when you find yourself in a relationship with her, your eyes will be opened to an entirely new experience of love.

Being the person who loves more is terrifying, but it is who I am. It means being the person who — despite everything that might tell her otherwise — believes in good. It means being the person who believes love will, in fact, conquer all. It meaning being the person who thinks love is the best way to respond in all encounters.

To deny that is to deny yourself of the relationships that will allow you to grow, discover and heal. So, don't shy away from being the one who loves more in a relationship. Do some soul-searching if you need to, but learn to embrace that part of who you are. It's an admirable quality.

A relationship doesn't work if you only share pieces of yourself. Despite the countless heartaches that might come when being the person who loves more, there is an optimism at the end of it that shines through everything else. You have an immense amount of self-confidence, and you know you deserve to be with someone who embraces your whole self.

That's what makes being the one who loves more worth it every time.