Out On A Limb

You have to be willing to break your own heart.

You really do. Over and over. To have a life worth living, you must gamble your heart. A lot. Most of the time it’s taking a risk where you know it might end in a broken heart, other times it’s a deliberate choice you make. Every time you open yourself up for something meaningful – whether it’s the possibility of true connection or going after a career dream – you open yourself up to be vulnerable. To be heartbroken. And it’s not an ‘open’ like a door where you just twist the handle and walk through, you open yourself up like a cracked egg that took a few too many hits against the pan and now has goo coming out of everywhere.

Putting yourself out there for your dreams, for love, for anything that really matters – is a vulnerable place to be. It’s never easy to convince yourself to crawl out onto that limb not knowing if it can hold you. Uncertainty alone is hard enough to bear, but when you’re risking the most intimate, fragile thing you have – no wonder it doesn’t seem worth the risk. And so many people choose not to risk it. I don’t blame them, and I’ve been one of them (and I’m sure will be again). In fact, this is all of us – at one time or another. Because we find these risks in the everyday opportunities we take or leave. We have a million branches in our lives. And as a procrastinator with vulnerability issues, I find myself often taking a few failed attempts before I take that step.

It’s not fun putting yourself out on that branch of uncertainty and vulnerability – but it’s necessary. It’s the only place to truly discover what a fulfilling life can be. And going out there is the only way to find out if it will be sturdy enough to support you – or if it will break. You must be your most authentic, cracked-open self, and take those risks, to find out which branches will help you climb higher, and which ones will teach you how to catch yourself on the way down.

It’s easy for us to deny the awesome fruits that live on some branches, the way our heart will forever be changed for the better, the way our lives will blossom and enrich our entire beings. It’s all hypothetical as we stand there debating whether we should try taking that step. I mean, it surely can’t be that great. Not worth risking this awful feeling of the unknown – and surely not worth falling when the branch cracks beneath me. What kind of fool will I look like then? How will I ever recover? Falling hurts. Fuck all of that, I’m fine right here.

And then, even when we convince ourselves it’ll be worth the risk… that getting what we want is worth the heartache of it not happening.. another fear sets in. Why do we want something so great if it can just be lost? Just because you get out there on that limb and find the best fruit in the world doesn’t mean it gets less risky or vulnerable. It just changes. Deciding to continually put yourself out there and keep your heart wide open for something you can (and will) lose is terrifying. It takes guts to keep enjoying that fruit knowing at some point the branch holding you will snap.

Rejection, failure, and loss is hard. Connection, success, and love is hard. A good life isn’t an easy life.

Life should be a terrifying, gut-wrenchingly beautiful, amazing journey.

Be willing to break your own heart.


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