Love often gets a bad rap.
Especially after a break-up when the cynics come out in droves and declare that true love only exists in books and in movies, that it’s fiction, a trap laid out by writers and poets, fooling, misguiding the guileless junta who don’t know any better. And there’s some truth to that. Love is sold to consumers in varying forms – couple’s deals in spas, a red-lettered day reserved just to proclaim and celebrate romantic love, booths in movie halls and what not. But it’s not unlike anything else that’s being sold to you. You have bought things far more dangerous than love – you bought that boards exams were important, you bought that fitting into those skinny jeans was important, and they really made you believe the pasta you ate was healthy because of the broccoli that swam in it. Believing in love is far more rewarding and real than any of those above. It’s infinitely better than believing that your next promotion or pay hike, the package you’re waiting from Amazon is going to bring you long-term joy. While a good job, travel, books and even solitude will give you joy, but romance gives you something much more. It will give you endless hope for the sustained struggle for the pursuit of happiness. Because it signifies hope, heartbreaks can wreck you and change you as a person. A heartbreak makes you curse and ironically wish the worst for a person you were irrevocably in love with, it makes you feel less deserving, question your own worth, it washes you over with self-pity, and makes you promise yourself that it will be the last time you would ever let your heart feel anything. You lock-up your emotions and throw away the key. And that’s okay to do. A bit of mourning helps you cleanse yourself of the person who broke you. But that’s no reason to sulk for long. On the contrary, it’s a cause for celebration. A rite of passage of sorts.
Because every relationship you get out of teaches you something about yourself and no lesson comes easy. You wouldn’t remember it otherwise. Every break-up is a therapy session, a little peek into your own self. It tells you what’s acceptable to you in a partner and what’s not. But more than that, during the course of a relationship, every partner opens little windows to your own self, making you realise things about yourself you didn’t know. Things that you don’t notice but should be proud of, things you have normalised behaviorally which you should correct. The security and the affection push you to discover more of yourself. Not only do you fall in love with another person but also yourself as pieces of the jigsaw that are you is revealed to you. And although you would want a relationship to last, but it’s a fallacy to think every relationship should last till the end of time. A lot of relationships run through their course earlier and that doesn’t mean that the love in those relationships wasn’t true. There’s no time frame to love. A break-up isn’t a reason to discredit love, it’s an acknowledgement that you have grown as a person – and maybe so has the other person – and your rules of engagement have changed. You can fall in love with a racist, sexist, right-wing homophobe because maybe his or her Twitter profile was private but you can’t stay in a relationship once you know, right? That unlocked Twitter profile told you how tolerant and liberal you are. So there, you fell in love, learned something about yourself, and then moved on. It’s a highly simplistic way to put it but you get the drift. Every time you break-up, it peels away another layer and leads you to parts of you hadn’t met before. Every breakup is an opportunity to fall more in love with yourself. So the next time, your heart aches from the longing and you think even ice-cream can’t assuage the pain, just know that you’re a better person now.