Better to have loved and lost?

There's a Facebook group called "Better to have loved and lost than to have stayed with the idiot." I have several friends who are members of the group (and yes, I am as well) and it got me thinking, is it really better to have loved and lost? Is it better to have gotten your hopes up and fallen (however far you did) into like or love with that other person only to have it end up with... well, not love? Is it better to have wondered and fretted about whether you finally got it right, whether this was finally your "one", whether you had found "happily ever after"?

I say yes. In fact, I say "HELL YES!" It is better to have put yourself out there, to have made yourself available and to have embraced all that that relationship had to offer you (however small the offering turned out to be). It is better to have jumped in with gusto than to wade through life testing the water just with your pinkie toe. It is better to have been "all in" than to have guarded your heart so much that the light never shone upon it. It is better to have opened yourself up to something potentially wonderful, even if it ended in heartbreak. It is better to have decided to live this life fully and completely engaged than to have watched from the sidelines.

Is it easy? No. It can be difficult and sad and terrible. Heartbreak is never fun. Heartbreak makes you question just what you were thinking. Heartbreak makes you wonder if "the one" will ever appear. But heartbreak also shows you exactly what you want and don't want in "the one". (Whether there is just "one" for each person is the subject for another blog. Stay tuned). As you go through life trying on one relationship after another, the things you find in the other person that you don't like/don't want/ can't stand are the road maps to what you do want/ must have/much prefer in your next relationship. For example, you may want someone more independent, more outgoing, more carefree, more self-sufficient, more outwardly affectionate; or you may want someone less talkative, less analyzing, less social butterfly-ish, less inclined to public displays of affection. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to find what it is you are looking for in "the one".

So next time you find yourself in the position of deciding whether to date or not, whether to make a new friend or not, whether to fall in love or not, realize that even if it doesn't work out, you will learn something. You will learn something about yourself, you will learn something about what you want, you will take another step or leap or jump toward the possibility of finding something and someone true and lovely and constant and amazing. So go ahead, close your eyes and jump in, embrace it all, wholly and completely; you might just be surprised at the good things that come your way.

After all, this is the life.
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