Love requires courage

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why people can’t get things they want, even if they passionately desire them, and actively work on getting them. In the relationship arena, I mostly notice it with single people. I am often surrounded, both privately and professionally, with wonderful, kind and interesting people who just can’t seem to find a long-term partner, seemingly – no matter what they do.

They go out and meet people, enroll in online dating, introduce themselves to new people, and lead interesting and active social lives, but it’s just not happening. In some cases, for years and years. Definitely way too long, and it just doesn’t make sense. Even if you’re the ugliest and most boring person in the world, statistically you’d stumble upon a partner or two in 5+ years. And for these people, seems like statistics don’t work. Why?

Besides the usual and quite common limiting beliefs that many single people have, which are in itself quite powerful obstacles to attracting adequate partners – things like: I’m too old/everybody’s taken/all men are irresponsible/all women only want a rich superman/there’s not enough choice/I’m too picky/I’m too complicated/I’m not good enough… and the like, I’ve realised there is another big issue: most people don’t REALLY put themselves out there. They have a burning desire, they take action, but they are not ready to take any real risks.

Since they only let themselves go up to a point – they get mediocre or no results. They play it safe because they don’t want to get hurt. Maybe they’ve been hurt before and they don’t want to feel that way again, and that’s fine in principle. But – love is a messy endeavour, and one that by definition involves strong emotions. If you want to have the best of it, you have to be prepared to sometimes experience its worst. Not because you like pain and hurt. But because you have to open your heart up and offer it to someone on a plate in order to have a chance to experience true love. There is no other way.

If you shield yourself from getting close, getting in the middle of this wonderful crazy chaos we call love… you will fail miserably. You’ll maybe find someone you like, but they won’t like you. Or you’ll get into a relationship and realise it’s not your thing. It will just be a mismatch over and over again. Because you are not looking for just any relationship. You’re looking for the real thing.

And to get it, you have to give it all you got. You have to strip yourself bare. Be honest, open, emotional, vulnerable, passionate. You have to invest your whole self in it, you have to genuinely care to make it happen. You have to make yourself truly available and ready to bear any consequences.

That’s the only way you’ll ever have a chance of finding true love, real connection, that wonderful bliss that happens when you are with a person who truly loves you, truly respects you, just wants to enjoy who you are, wants you to blossom and be happy in every possible way. And that’s the outcome we’re all hoping for, isn’t it? And you know what, it is possible. It exists! But it takes a lot of courage. And there are no shortcuts.

In my search for love I’ve made many mistakes. I’ve been hurt and left, refused, conned and rejected. I’ve dated and fell madly in love with men I never should have dated, men who were insensitive and unaware and sometimes even cruel. But I never ever gave up, never closed my heart to protect it from possible pain. Never said – I won’t let anyone hurt me again, so I’ll grow big thick walls and shut everyone out. Play games and never let them know how I truly feel to avoid getting heartbroken. Because I knew, if I do that, it will also shut out all the good, true, wonderful ones, the ones who will only come to me and recognise me as their match if they can see the real me.

When I liked someone I told them so, no matter what they did with it. Some have broken my heart and played with my feelings. But I knew it was a way of finding out who and what I really like and want. It was a steep learning curve, but I learned my lessons. Now I know who deserves me, and the ones who don’t – they don’t stand a chance any more. But to find that out, I had to try and fail, until I got it right.

If I didn’t like someone anymore, I broke up with them. I didn’t shy away from making tough decisions. Because I knew if it’s not good, it’s not worth it. And it’s wasting my time and life as well as theirs, because if we’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t make us happy any more, we’re both missing out on someone better.

I always knew that the only way I’ll ever find real love is to follow my heart. Go out, make myself available, let people see my insecurities and my shortcomings, as well as my beauty. I never calculated when to say I love you. And I never said it if I didn’t mean it. I never thought it’s better if they “love more”. I knew I’d never be happy if we didn’t love each other with equal dedication and passion. Anything else I can’t call love. And I never played games. In fact, I didn’t even know how to.

And that is, I believe, the one and only way to get true love. Coming from a person who found it, and is living it as we speak, I dear you to do the same. Love comes to the brave. Be brave! Take chances. Get to know people before you reject them. Maybe you’ll find out they are actually much better for you than someone you admire from a distance. Get the ones you like know the real you before they decide you’re not a good match. Don’t fear rejection, it only gets you closer to what you truly want and need. You might get hurt, yes, and it might be one hell of a ride, but it’s so amazingly worth it.


From your experience, has being courageous in love paid off so far? Why? Why not?
Thank you for sharing!

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10 Responses

  1. I much enjoyed reading your post! You are right! In my opinion, you cited the most two important thing to be successful with the opposite sex. First, to have a burning desire to run the risk and venture yourself in new experience with people to find someone who fits you, or in other words, your soul mate. And second, to go out of your comfort zone and accept that sometimes you will make mistakes and others you live great moments…

  2. madhurima says:

    I know Love needs courage….Im confused abt my feelings..whether its love or like..The guy whom I like says he loves me madly but maybe hes flirting with me bcz my friend said he used to flirt with her,but this time he promised me that he truly loves me…Im confused what to do..Plz gv some advice

    • Petra says:

      Hi Madhurima, I don’t know what your boy thinks. Only he knows that. Maybe give it a try and see what happens? If you don’t you’ll never know what he really meant when he said he loves you. Thank you for getting in touch, all my best!

  3. I think this is sage advice but at the same time I once promised myself that I would try to never give any person, male or female a reason to either hate me or pity me if I could manage it. In other words I don’t want to paint a target on my chest for people. When I broke up with my previous girlfriend I had visions in my head of her and her family/friends mocking me and laughing at my expense because of something stupid or humiliating I might have said or done when I was with her or for simply being a crap boyfriend in the relationship. I could imagine her even hating me outwardly or inwardly after I was gone from her life as a way of letting off steam. Groundless and incorrect of me maybe, but these were powerful images at the time.

    • Petra says:

      That is true – but still you and only you control these images. You can’t make everyone love you. Or like you. People who don’t know us can’t have a relevant opinion about us any way, therefore their opinion should not affect you. I know it’s not always so, but we should strive towards that – otherwise we’ll make ourselves constantly miserable.

  4. Jacqueline says:

    Love requires courage …yes I couldn’t agree more, it’s just so difficult because I’m afraid of rejection and a lot of heartbreak. About 7 months ago I met a co-worker (I’m his line manager) and we liked each other a lot. He’s divorced twice with three children, I was in the process of seperating my husband with two children. We had so much in common , could talk, laugh, cry together , our children met,we did many things together and pretty soon built a very strong friendship. The fact that we were(are) in a complicated work situation made that we never had sex although the chemistry was obviously there. Now, just two weeks ago he told me in tears that he met a 20 years younger, beautiful girl with whom he had sex and although he was very much attracted to me in the beginning he hoped that I understood that he couldn’t offer me more than friendship. It was a small drama because I think we both love each other at the core, he was as sad and desperate as I was. I backed off because my heart hurt so much. I feel that I missed out on something, that I took it too slow. I also know that as long as he is seeing this other girl (they have a long distance “thing” going on) I cant just pretend being “friends” although I would hate to lose that. This Friday were going to the ballet together and I feel that I should talk about this with him. What would be wise to do? A part of me hopes that this girl is just an “illusion” for him and that he will come back to his senses and realizes that he had more with me than with her (apart from the sex) . What is a wise thing to do? I really feel that I missed out on a soulmate because I was too careful with sex (if I wouldnt have been his line manager it would have happened!)

    • Petra says:

      Hi, sorry my reply is probably too late for your Friday outing – hope there will be more opportunities for you two to talk. If you feel you need to communicate to him how you feel – then yes, absolutely do that talk, but be prepared that the outcome may not be what you want. Apart from that: the decision is on his side now – and he did make it clear to you he is only into friendship. Whether this young girl is just temporary fun or the real thing, I don’t think you can help him decide that. The more you make yourself available and emotionally needy or supportive – the less he’ll appreciate and want you. No matter what he does, you’re still there, as nice and supportive as ever – so there’s no need for him to make an effort to get you back. I don’t suggest you play games or pretend you’re not interested any more, but the only way he will see what he lost is if you stop being so close and friendly – make it clear to him that he made a choice and he has to lose your friendship now, since you don’t want to be just his friend. Which would be a good idea any way, if you want to heal your broken heart faster. This is not an equal friendship any more – it will only hurt you more if you stay close to him while at the same time constantly get reminded he chose another woman instead of you. Also, think about whether you really want to be with a man who can one day be in love with you and the next suddenly fall for someone else, primarily because she was willing to have sex with him, and resort to a long distance relationship on a whim. That doesn’t sound very grown up to me. If he was really into you, he wouldn’t give up so easily. And I don’t think the outcome would have been different if you were less reluctant to go to bed with him. It has much more to do with his emotional maturity and – his feelings for you, which obviously were not that serious. Sorry for being negative – I am just trying to give you a bit of a different perspective – so you can see most of this is his decision, based on his feelings, and is not your fault. If you’d like to give me a bit more info and discuss further, my interpretation might be wrong since I don’t know many details, if you feel that would help please send me an email and we can arrange a consultation.

  5. Crystal says:

    I really enjoyed reading your article and I totally agree. Although I learned yesterday that love also requires courage once it’s found. Some people just aren’t willing to put in the work that’s required to keep moving forward. When stepping into the new we discover new things about ourselves, necessary things that we need to change. We’re pushed and forced to realizations that causes us to have strong epiphany’s. However for some this causes them to put on the brakes rather than to walk in the beautiful light of new discoveries. I speak from experience I’ve dealt with men who rather run back to what’s familiar than to become better. To whom much is given much is required, some need to strongly realize you can’t expect new and beautiful and continue to operate in the old. Love takes courage because we may love who our family don’t approve of whether its dealing with race, pedigree, or what have you. I’ve found that most people who are married didn’t do it for true love but out of obligation or expectation. So many are married to one person but their hearts are truly with someone else. Courage is when we can choose for ourselves and stand firm in that choice. Whether love ones and family agree. Because let’s face it sometimes family and friends don’t get it. I love from a healthy place as well, so I know true love will soon prevail.


    • Petra says:

      Hi Crystal, I absolutely agree with you, with every single word. You are right to the point and you have great insight and maturity, which I am shows already in your relationships and life in general. I especially agree with this sentence: “To whom much is given much is required.” That is so true, if we want true love and connection we have to stop lying to ourselves and others and be brave in our choices, and determined to change or give up things and people that don’t make us happy. You are on a good path and just keep going, don’t give up even if things don’t look that great right now – you will see everything will turn out right if you are true to yourself. Wish you all my best.

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