1. Choose yourself
There is no need for you to suffocate under the burden of a secret love. It is unnecessarily painful and it will drive you to madness. Go ahead and tell them you have feelings for them, pour out all the intensity you’ve been longing to give. I understand, it might not result in the way you expected. They might tell you that they don’t share the same feelings, but you must believe that you do not deserve to live in the agony of love limbo. Do they love you? Do they not? Find out. Go ahead and find out. Then if or when they break your heart, believe that you can certainly survive the heartbreak. Choose yourself, choose yourself enough to believe that you can mend yourself. It’s not the end of the world. Maybe right now it feels like it. But you will be fine. Dwell in the heartbreak a little bit if you must, but dust off as soon as you can.
2 You deserve better
This probably sounds cliche, a bit petty, and absurdly bitter doesn’t it? But hear me out. You do deserve better. Not because the person you love is not good enough. After all they must be incredible, for you to have fallen for them. What I mean is that you deserve better than to settle for loving someone who cannot love you back. They are not evil for not returning your love, and neither are you foolish, for picking someone unavailable. Maybe they don’t know how to love you. Maybe they can’t love you. Maybe they just do not love you. Neither of you is horrible for it and you darling, you mustn’t carry such a heavy burden of what ifs. You must believe, you must believe, that you are good enough to love someone who can love you back. Unrequited love certainly makes for great songs, but they wear out your heartstrings. Gather yourself and go on. Crawl always if you have to, walk away when you can, then mend yourself and live!
3 They are not your trophy
If like me, you’ve been on a journey of self-improvement, it is easy to get caught up in the idea that the world owes you a reward for all the effort you are pouring into yourself. So you might become enamored with the idea that because you’ve worked so hard on self-compassion and self-love, you deserve to have this person in your life. You finally, for the first time, feel good enough to even stand near them without being eclipsed by their bright aura. I plead you, don’t fall into the trap of feeling entitled to someone’s love. This person is not your trophy, your gold medal for olympic feats of self-amelioration. In fact, this unrequited love is a teachable moment for you. It is a reminder that self-love is a means and an end in itself. Stop and ask yourself, “If I were told that I wouldn’t find anyone to love until I was 50 years old, would I stop working on myself”? If the answer is yes, it is time for you to stop and re-evaluate your priorities. There is no need to commodify your self-improvement like you are a product in a store window, waiting to be picked. Be good to you simply because you deserve to be your best. Sometimes the person you wish would notice you, won’t even give you a second glance. Don’t let that be a measure of your value.
Ultimately, unrequited love is a reminder to re-focus on yourself and also expect more of life. You need to have the courage to want more, to believe you deserve more, and to know that you are good enough to love someone wonderful who in return, looks at you like he got a glimpse of the divine. Choose you.
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.