Im sick of love being elevated, set on this grand pedestal and shot into the sky with roaring fireworks. Its the end-all-be-all. Its what weve all been searching for since birth. Its the answer. Its the beginning and the end and the in-between. Its

We make love out to be the greatest thing in the world, as if finding it means finally being whole, as if being with your person will be perfect and flawless and all you ever dreamed of.

But the harsh, maybe-you-dont-want-to-hear-it-but-Im-gong-to-tell-you-anyways-truth about love?

Love is the nitty-gritty. Love is the tough, challenging, strip-you-to-your-core lessons. Love is pain. Love is complicated. But still, even in all that, its worth it.

See, sometimes we glorify love. We see it as this perfect thing to obtain. And when we find someone we care about, when we fall into relationships with people, we balk. Because we realize that love isnt what we thought it would be. Its hard and messy and filled with disagreements and misunderstandings and fights and frustration. And so we quit.

Then we blame ourselves; we blame our partners. We get fed up and start the search all over again, feeling just as incomplete as we did when we started.

But maybe we need to remind ourselves that love isnt supposed to make sense all the time. It isnt supposed to be easy, or wrapped up in a pretty box with a neatly-tied bow.

Maybe love, real love, is about finding someone who is imperfect, just like us, and loving them in spite of their sins. Maybe its about learning to forgive peoples inconsistencies, as they forgive ours. Maybe its about trusting, even when people dont really deserve that honor. Maybe its starting over and rebuilding. Maybe its learning to embrace all the pieces of another person, good and bad.

Maybe love is about accepting someone elses pain, past, baggage and bullsh*t, and loving them anyways.

Now, I would never advocate for anyone, man or woman, to be in a relationship that hurts them. I would never encourage someone to stay, to settle, to be with a person who doesnt treat them right. But I say that sometimes we expect too much from love and from each other.

We expect perfection. We expect people to love us consistently, even when we totally f*ck things up. We expect understanding and forgiveness and vulnerabilityeven when we dont show those things ourselves.

But maybe what we need to start doing is a little less , and a lot more

Maybe we need to understand that were all human, and were all going to make mistakes. The people we love are going to disappoint us; theyre going to fail us. Were going to ask them to be there for us, and they might run. We might want them to follow through on their promises, and they break them instead.

There will be a million and one ways the people we love will let us down, but we must still learn to love them, as they love us. That is the only way love worksit survives, it grows, it continues, even in its imperfection.

So maybe stop putting love up on that pedestal. Maybe stop looking at the person youre with and expecting them to measure up to this unattainable bar youve set for them.

Maybe start learning to let go a little, and appreciate them for who they are, even when they mess up.

Maybe start accepting their bulls*twhere they come from, the pain of their last relationships, the hurt from their past, the way they never put the damn toilet seat down, how they always steal your clothes or covers or last bites of pasta.

Maybe love is about making tiny sacrifices for the people you love. Not telling them about the little things that bother you. Not being so hard on them when they forget something you asked. Not holding them to immeasurably high standards.

And accepting them and loving them fully instead.

Because the truth is, were all imperfect people trying to love one another perfectly. And love doesnt work like that.

So maybe find someone whose sins shine just as bright as yours, someone whose pain still burns just as intensely as the feeling in your chest, someone whose demons make sense with yoursand love them fully. Love them through the ups and downs, the goods and bads, the tough times, the fights and the moments of bliss. Love them, dammit. Just love them. And dont stop.

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