When Love Isn’t Enough 


I know you love him, dear heart.

Love is enough, you tell yourself.

But deep in the hollow of places you don’t want to explore, you know it isn’t.

It used to be, back when it was whispered under summer skies with salty air in your lungs. When it was murmured beneath cherry trees that blossomed with the promise of harvest. When it was breathed against your neck as morning sun spilled golden light upon tangled sheets.

It used to be enough, back then—back when love was shiny and new.

But summer skies are soon defeated by dark-coloured clouds as cherry trees stand naked and forlorn in the starkness of winter and golden light recalls something beyond your grasp.

Love is enough, you tell yourself.

You know he loves you, even when he hurts you. He’s sorry, always sorry. He wants to try harder, wants to do better, if you’ll only give him another chance. You wipe away the tears that stream down his face. They are real tears, genuine tears, sincere tears, and you pull him close to you, forgive him, say you’ll stay.

Love is enough, you tell yourself.

You believe in a love that can overcome, and you love harder. You love with all you have, all you are, all you can. You love until you are on the floor, until there are no more tears, until he has destroyed you to your bones and even when there is nothing left of you, you love.

Love is enough, you tell yourself.

You wait for your love to sink into his skin, to spread through his cells, to seep into his bones and gush through his blood. You wait for your love to restore him, change him, stitch his broken pieces together. If you just love hard enough, he will understand love, he will love you better.

This is the power of the love you believe in, the love you give at any cost. The love you long so much to receive yourself.

Love is enough, you tell yourself.

Except, when it isn’t.

Because sometimes, it just isn’t.

It just isn’t enough.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you love, it will never be enough.

It will never be enough to know respect, trust, commitment, loyalty, compassion, empathy, kindness, gentleness, support.

It will never be enough to overcome control, possessiveness, jealousy, manipulation, blame, guilt, neglect, anger, lies.

It will never be enough to restore what is broken, to make things right, to regain what has been lost, to cover all sins, to fill all gaps.

It will never be enough to make it worth the stay.

It will never be enough to withstand another day of abuse.

It will never be enough to make him love you with the love you deserve.

I know you love him, dear heart. I know you long for your happy ending. I know you wanted love to be enough. But you give your love away to one who does not understand it—one who does not deserve it.

The one most deserving of that love, dear heart, is you.

For you are a rare treasure, precious and irreplaceable. You are light to the darkest corners of humanity, rain upon parched fields, the warmth of flames under star-laden skies. You are calm rivers and wild oceans, breathless winds and hurricanes that rage, tropical nights by the sea and overcast days covered in blankets of fresh snow.

It’s time to walk away. For when love destroys the sacred heart that beats inside your fragile chest, then love is no longer enough.

Don’t settle for a love that does not see the incomparable beauty that is you.

Go now, and love yourself with the love you deserve, the love you are entitled to.

Love yourself with the love he could never give you.

Love yourself so fiercely that you know without a doubt the love you are worthy of, that you may never again settle for anything less.

Love yourself, because even though love isn’t always enough, you, dear heart, always are.

You always will be.

Originally published on Elephant Journal

Your Mess Is Mine

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Bring me to your house
Tell me, “Sorry for the mess”
Hey, I don’t mind
You’re talking in your sleep
Out of time
Well you still make sense to me
Your mess is mine
~ Vance Joy

Some days there is only mess. Days when our hearts rip open and there is tissue and muscle and membrane everywhere and all our brokenness comes undone and we bleed out onto the ground.

Sorry for the messSorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. 

There’s nothing pretty about our hearts as they bleed, about our humanity as we suffer.  There’s nothing pretty about rejection, brokenness, abandonment, misunderstanding, cruelness, sadness, pain, hate. There’s nothing pretty about the way we are sliced open by ourselves, by others, by trauma, abuse, memories, nightmares, triggers, words.

Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. 

We are so ashamed of our mess. Ashamed of our humanity, of our ugliness. We’ve been told not to cry, to quiet down, to not show our feelings, to not make a scene.

We’ve been told to not make a mess.

Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. 

But to be human is to be messy. To feel, to love, to hate, to hurt, to cry, to grieve, is all messy. And the worst thing we can do is make others feel ashamed of their mess, to make them feel wrong in their humanity, as though they need to hide it, need to clean up their mess before anyone sees it.

The most beautiful gift we can give one another is to step into their messiest place and say, “Hey, I don’t mind.” To look around at the mess, the chaos, the blood all over the ground, and make sense of them when they can no longer make sense of themselves.

To hear them say it:

Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. Sorry for the mess. 

And to love them enough to say, “Your mess is mine.”