“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV

I am a cynical hopeless romantic. An oxymoronic phrase if I’ve ever written one, I know. But, I stand by it’s usage as it relates to my views on love and relationships. To break it down, I’d say I am a man who believes in the life-changing, transformative power of love but always lived in fear that this power would never positively affect me. For a long time, I held onto this thought, this doubt and this fear in the back of my mind while searching for a potential partner.

In life, relationships will fail. People break up. It’s a simple fact of life, however I’ve always taken these breakups to heart and blamed myself, whether I’ve been at fault or not. I’ve found myself wondering what I could’ve done to keep “her” from cheating or made “her” see my value, not realizing that people will be who they are regardless of what you do. It took watching beloved relationships fall apart to come to this conclusion.

Despite this, I know what love is even down to biblical examples. 1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 gives the description of love, saying, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…” And having experienced the emotion and the action called love, I agree wholeheartedly.

So, why fear love? Because the unreciprocated or even the reciprocated love of the wrong thing can cut you deeper than anything else. The problem turns into not knowing if what you love is the right thing, oftentimes until it’s too late and there’s no room to turn around. My fear is a fear of error, of pouring out into what I think a vessel that turns out to be a sponge that no matter how much squeezing I do, gives me only the bare droplets of what I’ve put it in.

So what solution is there here? Where do you find the vessel that gives back to you as much as you put it in? As obvious and cliche as it sounds, that vessel is you. Self-love is the purest love and recognizing yourself as the greatest support system you’ll have is the biggest step in the journey towards loving others. Loving yourself means understanding your limits and working never to exceed them in an effort to pour into the wrong vessel. You are worth the love you’ve been trying to give to others.

How about you try to give it to yourself for a change?

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