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Healing: The Good Relationship After the Bad One

     Falling in love can be hard, and I wish we talked about that more. 

     Falling in love is sharing your all with someone, showing them the secrets you keep, and giving them your heart, and hoping they give you love back. It's every sonnet, it's that full feeling in your chest, and it's absolutely beautiful.

     Sometimes, love is kind and gentle and it brings love back to us, and sometimes it isn't. Sometimes love is cold, and harsh, and leaves us sitting alone and wondering how we could have been better.

     After the bad relationship, the one full of mistrust and anger and hurt, it's so hard to love again. To not feel like every touch from a new person is an inside joke between them and some higher power, and to not flinch before the imaginary emotional blow you've been health before. 

     When you spend so long with someone you thought was the sun, moon, and stars and they just treat you like dirt, it makes the already complicated aspect of love even more confusing, because every person that comes after, you can't help but think; I've already been here before.

     See, the bad relationships don't start badly at all. They start with friends meeting friends and flowers and first kisses. There are inside jokes and new memories and those butterflies in your stomach when you fall asleep at night, and you are so in love that it hurts in the best way possible.

     And then it shifts.

     Day becomes night, and somehow you've barely spoken today, they start making hurtful comments, and all of a sudden you can't remember the last time they made you feel even remotely good.

     The scariest and most painful part about the bad relationship is that it's hard to really understand how it got this way. The pain was a process; the anger an evolution. The moment comes when you step back, look around, and all you can ask is, "What happened to us?"

     Still, the most difficult part about this kind of love is not the relationship that sours, but the one after.

     When love has disappeared in front of your eyes, this strange and eventual cynicism comes creeping in and makes its home the gate around your heart, because if you've seen love shapeshift into hurt, how will you be able to convince yourself it isn't inevitable? How do you convince yourself it won't happen again?

     I've learned that you simply can't.

     You can't convince yourself that love won't fade in front of you again because it's impossible to control people. People have the right to free will, and that's one of the things that makes love so beautiful; it's a choice. To wake up every day and be brave enough to put your heart on the line for someone is a choice, but when you anticipate the pain that may never even come you only sabotage what's right in front of you. 

     Sometimes when we're so used to the bad, we find ourselves afraid of the good. 

     Accepting new love into our lives comes from the radical decision that we deserve it. It's important to understand that we deserve that all-encompassing, compassionate love.

     To live in fear of being left and unloved is the quickest way to get yourself there.

     I believe the most beautiful part of love is to heal, get up, and grow. It's to say, "I'm not afraid of you, love," and to love harder. Love with every piece of you, because that's how you bring the good into your life.

     When you decide you deserve a full and openhearted love, you begin to attract one.

     Your new partner is a different person, with a different past than your last partner, different dreams, and ready to try for a different love. Don't hold the past against someone new who only wants to love you.

     Because in the deafening silence of the decision to choose self-acceptance and self-love, we invite noise from the best of places; trust, and newer, better loves. 

Juliana is a second-year Marketing and Theatre Arts double major with a Creative Writing minor at Baylor University. A Houston native, her interests include the arts, culture, and activism. When she isn't writing or trying to make the world a better place, she can be found making music or shopping.
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