“The only way to find true happiness is
to risk being completely cut open.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself:
who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life
and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
Hunter S. Thompson
All of life is about holding on and letting go. This very tension is what makes our world spin. As a matter of fact, even our bodies are being held up by tension — by the vibrations of our innermost atoms, holding on to each other for dear life, striving to keep their bonds tight.
So, it’s human nature to hold on, but it takes all the power and courage we have in us to let go.
Risk means that for everything we hold on to, there is something we have let go of. Having more of something means having less of something else, and that is a natural law.
Falling in love is scary, because it is more “letting go” than it is “holding on”. To love is to be brave enough to let go of our fears, our pleasures, our old habits, our time. It is risky. When we fall in love, we risk having to let go of our well thought-out plans. We’ll never know for sure what will come next, what consequences await us on the other side of our every step. Falling in love is scary because it makes our hearts all the more susceptible to pain. To wholly love another person is to be willing to have the walls of our hearts broken down, to be vulnerable, and to let some of our past pains to exit our lives for good. And with that exit comes a grief of what has been lost: the old, comfortable, self-serving life.
“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me.
Of course we will hurt each other.
But this is the very condition of existence.
To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Manon, Ballerina
But, all of that loving and risking will be worth it, once we learn to accept that the fear of letting go is humane, and that life is a cycle of staying, letting go, and finding closure. We might not be sure of what will happen to us next, but this is what we can be sure of: that each time a risk is taken, growth takes place in that very ground. If things turn out well, look around with thankful eyes and see that it is good, and then continue to grow. If not, then allow yourself to grieve, accept, move on… and grow. Yes, you will not shrink in your growth when you succeed in stirring up your courage and make peace with the “letting go” part. Loving another person will always be worth the risk, once we realize there will be more to put on the line if we refuse to take those risks.
One word, one step, or one decision can take us away from or lead us to a lifetime of happiness. Let’s hope that we will never be okay with just sticking around our comfort zones, but that we will be the kind of people who are willing to love, to risk things, and to accept life’s invitation to embark on its beautiful adventure.