Have you ever loved someone so much that you lived for their smile and died for their tears? You want to be closer to them than anyone else. You want to talk to them. To feel them, to be near them, to feel their heart beating through the wall of their chest knowing their heart beats for you. You want to see them pull a sweatshirt over their head when it's cold and you want them to smile at you when you put on your matching one. You want them to tell you every single one of their innermost secrets. You burn to know their hopes and dreams. You yearn for their goals and fears. You want it all. That’s not what love is. Real love starts with self-love. Self-love is being able to objectively and categorically accept yourself. You can’t love other people if you don’t love yourself first. When someone cares enough about you to tell you something that no one else will that person is a true friend and that’s what love is. It’s not about sex or feeling good. It’s about grabbing someone before they walk off the edge of a cliff. It’s stopping the kid who can’t swim before they run off the end of the dock.

Your enemies will do you no harm.

The people who tell you the truth are your friends. These are the people who tell you that an outfit really doesn’t look all that great or you should save your money no matter how badly you want whatever it is at the moment. The moment will pass. There are people who will tell you things that are true but true things are not always the truth. The truth is…, you know what the truth is. You know everything about yourself whether you’re willing to admit it or not. You know that what you’re doing is not good and not healthy and when someone cares enough to reach out and slap your face because you’re so drunk you don’t respond to anything else, that’s love. That’s what love is and that’s what love does. Love is brutally honest with people for their own good. Even if you gain nothing from the exchange.

That's the first part of love. It has another part. Love is being able to walk away from the wrong thing no matter how right it feels. I was married for three years before I snapped. I was young. I was in love and I thought he was everything. What I didn’t know is he didn’t love himself anymore than I loved myself. Even worse, he couldn’t communicate his thoughts and feelings to me in a way that I understood. We were young. We didn’t have money problems but we sure had problems with spending. I bought whatever I wanted and so did he. Buying things wasn’t the answer. It didn’t help. It didn’t help and it didn’t matter and it didn’t solve problems. We went to counseling. We’re smart. We know what’s wrong. We just don’t know how to fix it. Relationships are based on trust, communication, understanding and acceptance. You have to be the friend who tells people the truth. That part was for me.

This is for you: I can’t tell you what your words meant to me because I can’t write the way that you do. I want to tell you but everything is trapped inside and bottled up. I don’t want to be the person I am. I want to be something different. I have to accept myself the way that I am and I have to find ways to cope with whatever loneliness and depression I have. I know you’re lonely. I know that you know what that feels like and how much that hurts and I know some of what it must have cost you to reach out. You’re not the first person who has told me this but you’re the first person I’m really listening to. It’s going to be hard and I’m not sure how successful I’m going to be because you’re right. Maybe this doesn’t make any more sense to you than it does to me. I don’t know how to say it any other way though. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for caring and most of all thanks for being my friend.

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