Love and Battle Scars: What People Won’t Tell You

Undeniably closed off internally from pain
numb to the thought of love, to the feeling of warmth
refusing to be understood, refusing stability,
denial of truths, denying one’s self worth, internal blame
repression, suppression, cold-hearted and disbelieving
running from truths, running from emotions, from love
mistaking pain with love, unable to discern the two
truth. loyalty. respect.
cannot comprehend a world without –
restrained by emotional ties and unforgettable memories
Battle Scars.

Often enough, we mistake pain for love, we believe that if we are in this much pain, we certainly must be in love with the person hurting us. What many of us forget is, pain and love aren’t synonymous. If it hurts, it isn’t love. They say that the opposite of loving someone is also hating someone, but it isn’t. The opposite of love isn’t hate, but rather it is the lack of love. Sometimes I feel that these words are important to keep in mind, but then I wonder… How can you love someone and not experience pain in the process? Several of us try to abide by these philosophies and principles, but being in love doesn’t always mean experiencing clear and sunny skies. There will always be ups and downs. In my opinion, what strengthens couples is the ability to  overcome obstacles and difficulties together. No two people are the same which is why there will be difficulty. When progressing through relationship phases, there comes a time when infatuation leaves us and we end up seeing people no longer through a rose-colored glass.We end up seeing their differences and we adjust and make compromises to overcome them. However, how far should we exactly go? When is enough really enough? When we end serious relationships, there is always baggage that comes with it, but why is baggage always a bad thing? How we define a person should be dependent on how a person grows from it. You may call it baggage, but I call it ‘battle scars’. Scars themselves never heal completely, they leave beauty marks that will remind us of the person that left it. Is it always a bad thing? I’d like not to think so.

Having battle scars reminds us of the mistakes we’ve made in the past to prevent repeating them. We become more sensitive and analytical about situations before stepping whole heartedly into relationships. We become more cautious before we touch those hot stoves so we can prevent getting burned again. Granted, there are times that the burn is so bad that it prevents us from performing the same acitivity again, but that isn’t always the case. Like everything, things take time. That is essentially what it means when they say wisdom comes with age. We fail, we experience pain, suffering, love, joy. It really is all a balance between ying and yang. Battle scars heal over time and during that time, one may grow hatred in their heart or start to close up from society due to the pain that was recently experienced. However, there comes a time that an individual uses those feelings to make more responsible and smarter decisions later in life, hopefully understanding that closing up the idea of love is not the way to approach the situation or circumstance.

Stages of Healing

Over time, most start to accept what happened and can eventually start over. Others become stuck and unable to love themselves, they become caught up in the pain to the point that they forget what surrounds them. Instead of growing a stronger shell, they end up getting lost in their own pain, focused only on their misery and negativity. In such cases, these individuals try to move on before they have fully healed. Many become serial daters, trying to escape the feelings of pain, rejection, and loneliness. It no longer becomes about finding someone special, it becomes all about finding temporary relief in someone else. We spiral into emotional turmoil and let these feelings become all consuming. We become emotionally unavailable.

The feelings we have for others sometimes becomes so strong due to dopamine, a chemical that often stimulates the pleasure sensors of the brain. It is the same area that makes us feel good when being introduced to cocaine. When we go through withdrawal, the emotional turbulence we experience is almost unbearable at times. At one point we were soaring, the next minute we are crashing. We keep running away from opportunities, afraid we are doomed to repeat history. We end up believing we do not deserve any better. Normally, people who have invested a lot into a person becomes shattered and must rebuild him or herself.

In time, after many mistakes and through trial and error, we learn to realize that we shouldn’t bring these issues with us when we embark on a new journey with a significant other. We experience mixed signals where we feel happy and better at one point, sad and depressed at another, angry and hateful at other times. All of this will pass in due course.

And then it happens…

We learn to accept that it failed, but it isn’t an extension or an ill representation of who we are. Things happen and things shouldn’t be taken personally. It isn’t because you or the person you were with wasn’t good enough, it is about how well of a match the two of you were. It takes two people and if each person doesn’t pull their own weight, it becomes difficult. There are several reasons it can go wrong that it’s better to stop yourself from thinking about it and continue to be aware of those feelings and move on.

The attempt to suppress actually regresses an individual and sends them backwards. From experience, I’ve learned that if you refuse to feel those feelings and let all of it out, it will consume you, it will prevent you from going forward.

Once you can accept that it didn’t work out and you feel you can open up your heart again to someone then you are ready to put yourself out there. However before then, you come first. There is no way to love others without loving yourself first.

At times when we are so invested, we lose ourselves and allow us to be defined by the relationships we commit to. We lose ourselves and it could be extremely devastating to lose the person we built our lives around. But lets face it, with a relationship that we lose ourselves in, it’s quite toxic. Many of us will lose ourselves, but at that point, its best not to complain, and instead, rebuild ourselves. From there you can remember how to be yourself again and remember the things that you once loved to do before being too caught up in pain. In fact, its best to rediscover yourself when undergoing emotional turmoil. It reminds us who we are and that we still have it together and can work through it.

Failure to go through such a progression results in being stuck or being closed off. It is not easy at all to go through these stages, but nobody said breaking up or losing a loved one is ever easy. Life goes on and so we have to keep moving, cognizant of our failures, but ready to work harder to become stronger and better than before.

This is going to be tough love, but it’s what most people need to hear that they often don’t. Things didn’t work out for a reason. Stop over analyzing things, stop thinking and blaming yourself for what happened. Stop complaining and stop thinking of trying to win your significant over back. It is absolutely broken and if you return to the person, you may find temporary relief, but will end up back at square one. Nothing is going to change the results of what transpired, you just have to suck it up after you’ve accepted things. If you’ve been progressing slowly and are still hating yourself years after the situation, know that it becomes SERIOUSLY unhealthy. Again, let it all out, accept it, move on and give yourself that time you need to feel that you ARE worth it. I cannot tell you how many people end up wallowing in sorrow and hating themselves over something that didn’t work out. You failed in one arena, but you are preventing yourself from exploring other possibilities. We learn from our mistakes and there is nothing we could do about it since it is out of our hands. You are an amazing person, someone WILL love you, someone will come around that is even better, and until then, stay that amazing person you are that deserves every ounce of respect. Focus on the positives and remember to LOVE yourself.

Stay Strong.




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