The history of boys in my life has followed a very predictable pattern:
Hope meets boy.
Boy seems great.
Hope sees the best in him, loves him with her whole heart.
Boy is like, “woh back off your heart is too much and I’m not interested.”
Hope is like, “what the heck I just like being around you and I can’t just make my heart smaller.”
My heart has been my greatest asset and also my greatest setback.
My heart has been on my side in allowing me to see the best in people, to make incredible friends, to love passionately and deeply and unconditionally. My heart has allowed me to give people second chances, to see the world from a more forgiving and positive lens. My heart has allowed me to have a great boyfriend in high school, to see and appreciate others’ love and to seek love in all circumstances.
But my heart has also allowed me to be walked on, to give people not just second chances but eighth chances, to get emotionally attached, to see too much good in people, to seek love in guys who would never be interested to begin with. Oh, and a big heart means when it breaks it shatters. In a million pieces.
I used to hate my heart. It’s counterintuitive, I know, but the heartbreak is horrible. Being walked on is defeating. It kills my confidence, makes me second guess who I am. Realizing people aren’t as great as I thought they were sucks.
I remember senior year of high school when my best friend Alex sat me down and said, “Hope, I need you to understand something. You bring out the best in people. And that will really screw you over sometimes. Because people you think are great are only great around you. Because you make them great. But then you will see them in other contexts, or they will stop trying around you, and you’ll realize they’re not as great as you see them to be. Don’t be fooled. Guard your heart.”
I think that was the single most important thing anyone has ever said to me. But it’s something I’m tired of following.
Because I hate guarding my heart. Because my heart is who I am, as much as it can set me back. Guarding my heart means not being my full self. It means toning back my passion, toning back my emotions, sinking into a safe version of myself instead of showing the world who I really am.
So I’ve decided I don’t know how to guard my heart.
Which is scary.
And probably unhealthy.
But the reality. Because if I guard my heart then I guard who I really am. And I simply can’t present a fake or watered down version of myself to the world, to anyone. Because then no one knows the real me and that contradicts the entire idea of this blog: being authentic and vulnerable.
So I’m writing this to you, to the boys who are afraid of commitment and don’t understand a girl’s big heart: You are missing out. You’re scared and fear will hold you back from not only a wonderful girl but also from a complete life. You’re choosing to hide behind your fear instead of standing in awe and holding that heart like it’s damn precious.
I’m writing this to you, girls with big hearts. One day a guy will see your heart and it won’t freak him out. Instead, the idea of being without your heart will freak him out. And that’s beautiful and incredible and please just you wait.
I’m writing this to the world. You could tell other people I’m nice. But nice doesn’t really mean anything. Instead, why don’t you tell people I have a big heart? Because then at least the immature boys who hear that will sprint the other way and the big-hearted boys will move a little closer.
And I’m also writing this to myself. To remind myself of this when I start chasing after a guy who isn’t great. Who doesn’t have a big heart and who doesn’t understand or appreciate mine. Who reminds me of the millions of shattered pieces instead of the unconditional beauty.
So as I continue not to guard my heart, I just pray that one day a guy will see my whole heart on the line and truly appreciate it. He’ll be great not just because I bring out a great side in him but because he’s just great in general. I’ll get emotionally attached, but that’ll be okay because he’ll be emotionally attached to me, too. He’ll let me down, and disappoint me, because we are all broken and all of us will let everyone we love down, but he will bounce back with a heart so big that my heart will look small in comparison. And he will challenge me to grow my heart even bigger, instead of making me second guess who I am.
Because: “what the heck I just like being around you and I can’t just make my heart smaller.”