When Janet-Lee Ropas said farewell to her first true love, the residual pain made things seem bleak. Here’s how she finally learned to let go and love on.
There was a time when all I longed for was to be in a relationship, to be in love. All I would do was think and dream about and pray to fall in love. Finally, I surrendered and stopped stressing and wondering why “the one” was not there and just lived my life, for me. Wouldn’t you know, within two weeks “the one” showed up, like magic.
It was an instant, easy-to-fall-into, head over heels, love. We were young, open, hungry to discover the world, have fun. We were both each other’s first loves–a movie-esque courtship ensued, flowers, walks on the beach, kisses in the rain, a little shy, but mostly giddy with delight.
We found our “get me’s”—you know, the person who just gets you, no explanation needed. They just somehow know you to the core. Instant, magnetic attraction, inseparable, no longer able to breathe without the other, first love sweet innocence. Our lives became so enmeshed we could no longer remember a time before we catapulted into each other’s Universes; and future lifetimes were already being planned with “us” as center stage. The line of where each other’s lives started and ended quickly became blurred. I was two months shy from my 18th birthday, and he was a year older. He was the one I had been dreaming and praying for. I thought I was so lucky to have found him at such a young age, no longer having to search and wait for my soulmate.
It was good, really good, until it wasn’t. We cared for each other deeply and the love, that was real, no question; however, it was conditional. Only we thought it was unconditional.
We both came from families that did not have models for soul deep love. No-one talked to us about the true meaning of unconditional love and that—unlike Hollywood fairy tale descriptions of romance, where it is all easy-breezy once you fall in love—actually takes a lot of work, daily, moment to moment, conscious effort.
We were so young and this was our first round in the ring of romantic partnership—we had no idea what we were doing. We would sometimes say if only we met later in life, because the love was so genuine, so deep, so raw, and we gave our all—the all we had to give during that blink of time and space. That blink was a blink of seven years, including some periods of being broken up, not speaking, trying to be “just friends,” to getting back together, and then ultimately having to throw the towel in, attempting to salvage what pieces of my heart were still left.
They say it takes half the length of time of the relationship to fully heal. It took me almost the length of the relationship because I had, in a very young and naïve fashion, built my life on him, instead of me. My heart was shattered to a million shards because I did not know what I know now. Which is to say, I did not know me, so the person I thought was my “get me” soulmate, could not have been—because I did not even get me, so there was no way someone else could.
I also understand the meaning and depth of unconditional love now.
Here is the truth that I have come to know through having loved as deeply and as best as I could at the time of being with my first love: now, seven years after the relationship has finished its cycle, I still love him, and no, it is not something I need to get over, ever. The very important and clear difference is I am no longer in love with him and, quite frankly, so much time has passed I no longer know who he is to even be in love with him.
The one Universal truth that I know is love never dies. If you truly love someone, that will never go away. To me, that is the most beautiful, delicious part of loving anyone. It lives on in your heart and soul—but only if you forgive, release, and surrender the relationship. It is the old adage, if you love something, let it go.
Let it go, for you, first. Let it go out of self-love.
Then let it go because you love the other person, even if it does not feel like it in this moment. If you ever loved them, trust me, you still love them in some capacity. Forgive to untether any bitterness, toxins, or anger living inside. Clear that gunk out.
Then release it all—any remnants of sadness, guilt, blame, judgment, rage, confusion, fear, doubt, hurt—release the pain.
Finally, lay it all down—all the tears, frustration, the holding on—surrender it all, freeing yourself and your partner, create the space to let even more love in.
Learn from my mistake of building Fort Knox around my heart. I hardened up, trying to bury this love, hoping it would just vanish into the dark recesses of the steel walls.
Do not take years to discover you are fighting a losing battle: love can never be buried, it will rise up again and again, haunting you with its shadows.
Instead, you can forgive, release, and surrender and it will rise up again and again, blinding you by its glorious light, transformed into an unconditional love—a love that now, when you look back, gives you peace, knowing you both did the best you could during that blink of time and it does not mean that the love was not real, just that it was not meant to last a lifetime, in the form that you thought. It will forever remain a love you carry in your heart.
As E. E. Cummings so eloquently wrote:
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear…)
Carrying this love with you is perfectly OK.
After forgiving, releasing, and surrendering the relationship, you will step into the unknown. It may seem scary at first, but this is where your next great love lives, an unconditional love, because that is already what you carry in your heart, and we magnetize what we hold in our hearts.
Surrender for love.
About the Author
Janet-Lee Ropas: An inspirational catalyst, intuitive artist, and soul sparker helping to ignite your heart whispers. A teacher, healer, writer, dancer, photographer, travel junkie, sky gazer, and wonder seeker. Escaped corporate America to live a life filled with freedom, love, grace, passion, and adventure. I shine my light and share my story because I believe in you and your power to rise up to live the life you desire, to live passionately & unapologetically. I am devoted to love, connection, relationships, healing each other and mamma earth. I believe in the power of love. I will be launching a new website soon and in the meantime you can take a glimpse at my blog, Bring on the Wonder, or find me on Instagram.