I remember it all too clearly — it was hands down, one of the most confusing ways I had ever been dumped. I had started seeing someone for a few weeks, nothing too serious, but all the while, fun and exhilarating. However, one day, he suddenly told me that he had to stop hanging out with me because he’s giving his ex another shot.
Knowing a bit about their past relationship, I had realized this would be their attempt to salvage the relationship. As I swallowed my pride, wiped back my tears of anger, I calmly said, "If it didn't the work the first time, it’s probably not ‘gonna work the second time. And if it definitely didn't work the second time, its damn well ‘gonna fail the next time."
Though I felt cool walking away and actually being able to say something other than "f*ck you," it continued to dawn on me that this person was willing to pass up a new opportunity with me for a stale opportunity with her. I was confused and somewhat devastated at the fact that he found the past with an intolerable ex to be more appealing then a new and exciting future with me.
Two years later, I was in a similar situation that led me to realize that more often than not, we fall into old and familiar habits rather than taking risks and embracing new possibilities — even if they could potentially make us happier.
So why do we do it? Is it rooted in self-sabotage, laziness, or fear? What makes us choose a path that we know will lead to a dead-end rather than a new route that offers new opportunities?
Reflecting on my personal experience, I think it all stems from fear — fear of losing out, fear of losing them, and fear of making the wrong decision and dealing with its awful consequences? You fear that the new person you choose may not be able to offer you that same escape you experienced with your ex. You fear that the person you used to love will move forward, love someone else and subsequently, forget about you.
You fear that your decision, if wrong, will leave you in the dust, alone and unhappy. So you choose the easy road, the one that leads to being with someone you know has already loved you. By doing this, you avoid facing your fears and in turn, justify your decisions by getting lost in the nostalgia of them and their love — ignoring all the things that previously destroyed that love.
However, it is normal to get lost in your memories — people tend to make their decisions based on comfort, not what’s best for them. People avoid facing fear at all costs, forgetting that sometimes, it’s fear that wakes us up and forces us to really live. Opportunities can be scary because there is no solid plan behind them, no definitive answer or guaranteed outcome.
The opportunity of a new person could be the best decision you ever make, but until you succumb to your fear, meet it head on and give it a fair chance, you will never know the rewards you could glean from conquering it.
It’s hard to try something new and it’s even harder when it comes to dating. It’s difficult to put yourself out there, to share who you are with someone — the good, the bad and the ugly — and hope her or she will accept you, flaws and all. And once you have found that someone, it’s even harder to walk away from them — even when you both know you should.
Fear rests behind so many of our decisions when it comes to love. We fear opening ourselves up out of fear that we will not be loved in return. After we open our hearts, we fear of letting go because we fear someone else will take our place. It’s a vicious cycle that we experience, but we often forget that the fear we first experienced was what allowed us to fall in love in the first place. Even though we were scared sh*tless, we faced that fear and were able to meet the person we came to know and love.
So, fear is not always our enemy, it’s the driving force that allows us to take chances and it's one that we should face head on. It’s not something we should run from or avoid — it’s the jolting force that reminds us that we are alive and that we have a damn choice — to face it or to falter because of it.
Next time you run from what could be the best thing for you, remember that you should embrace what scares you because it means you’re alive and most importantly, with great risks come great rewards, so don't miss your opportunity.
Photo via We Heart It