By Holly Riordan
1. Even though you think hiding your feelings is going to protect you, you can still get your heart broken. Your feelings might be hidden — but they still exist. You still like this other person. You still want to be with this other person. Just because you aren’t saying the words out loud doesn’t make them any less true. When they start dating someone else, when you realize you’ve lost your chance with them, it’s going to sting. No one else will know you’re in pain, but youwill know. And you will always wonder whether things could have been different if you chose another path, if you were more honest about what you wanted from them.
2. Putting yourself out there is scary — but at least you’ll have a chance of getting the ending you crave. If you keep your feelings to yourself, if you pretend you are completely heartless, your crush is never going to guess how you feel. If you send them signals you aren’t interested, then they are never going to ask you out because they don’t want to be rejected either. They don’t want to experience heartache either. Even if you feel like there’s no chance they would want to date you, your odds are much better if you’re clear about how you feel. If you act like you want nothing to do with them, then they’re never going to be yours. It pays to be honest. No, you might not end up with them, but if you keep your feelings to yourself you definitely won’t end up with them.
3. Acting vulnerable and admitting your emotions doesn’t make you weak. It makes you brave. It’s terrifying to open up your heart, especially when you’ve been hurt in the past. It’s not going to be easy to look someone in the eyes and tell them how you feel, but it’s going to be worth it in the end. Either you’re going to end up learning they feel the same way about you. Or you’re going to get turned down and will be able to move on. Either way, at least you will know the truth. At least you will know whether you should invest more time into this person or search elsewhere for a hand to hold.
4. Thinking you’re better off alone is as dangerous as thinking you need a relationship to be happy. It’s not better to be single or to be in a relationship. It all depends on the situation. Yes, you’re better off alone than with someone toxic. But no, you’re not better off alone than with a person who uplifts you and encourages you and makes you believe in love again. You shouldn’t stubbornly stay single once you find the right person. You shouldn’t push someone wonderful away because you are scared of what will happen if you pull them close.
5. It’s okay to stay cautious in love. You don’t have to tear all your walls down and wear your heart on your sleeve. You can still be cautious about who you let into your heart. You can still get to know someone before deciding whether they deserve access to your thoughts. You are allowed to be picky about who you love. Just don’t swear off love completely.
Holly Riordan is a writer and author from Long Island, New York.