Four little letters, one big word… of depth, of emotion, of fear- or so I once thought. Love has unexpectedly fallen into the lives of many for centuries now and though it continues to evolve, something that will forever be present is heartbreak- that hardcore Mary J. Blige “Not Gon’ Cry” mixed with Vanilla Blue Bell ice cream type of heartbreak to be exact (no? just me?). A fiery love dimmed gray is something we all know too well, yet we continue to set ourselves up to be potentially hurt again. Now if you’ve never been in love, maybe this piece isn’t for you- catch us on the next one. Oh but my friend, if you have ever found pure nirvana in investing yourself into another, in talking to someone from dusk ‘till dawn, and randomly whispering sweet “I love you’s” for no reason at all, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So you ask, what’s love really got to do with it? Well, everything. Love is the reason we smile, the reason we laugh endlessly (and the reason we spend tons of money on stuff we have no business). However, it is also often times the cause of over thinking, cries about the silliest of events, and playing the fool twice too many times, because we cared that much. Yet we find it easier in blaming ourselves for other’s mistakes all because of love too, so yes it’s safe to say that love is a powerful thing. When you are in love, the heart is held captive by another being through an unexplainable passion; a yearning desire to never let go. There is nothing wrong with holding on tightly, but sometimes we tend to forget about us, losing ourselves in focusing so much on another. And that’s where we mess up.

Today’s Keyword: Liberate |ˈlibəˌrāt| (v): release from a state that limits freedom of thought or behavior; set someone free from a situation esp. imprisonment

Like Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first” (yes, I did just quote a fictional character). How can you expect to love another when the love tank for yourself is almost on E? Self-love is the best love, for no one can provide you with what soothes your soul better than you can. Have confidence in your worth, knowing that everything happens for a reason, even if you do not understand it at that point in your life. Stop asking “why me?” and have faith that something bigger and better is yet to come. Stop guarding your heart because one person messed up; one’s flaws have nothing to do with the next. Most importantly, find joy in being given the opportunity to let go of things that God didn’t find deserving enough to take part in your success story and move forward. Let me say that again, MOVE FORWARD. In finding liberation, you still can be in love, but it is a much happier, more patient, more understanding kind. To be free, is to be detached from all doubts and fears that love will fail you yet again.

Love is truly a journey, but before that journey can even begin, self-love must already exist within you. I was once the girl who told myself I would never fall into the trap of love again, that I refused to be hurt anymore. I doubted what I was bringing to the table, that I was maybe too silly of a girl, too demanding of time and honesty, too lax about the wrong things and then too anal-retentive about light-hearted matters. I never took the time to see that everything I was doing was right and that in actuality, maybe timing and the person was wrong. I used to be afraid of love and all it could and would do for me, but through self-love first and then being able to find one who loves me for me, I learned how to live again. No not love, live. The excitement of not knowing what’s next is the real beauty of it all. Don’t give up mid-run because you never know what’s at the finish line. Be fearless, never doubting that mere chance of falling in love again and again. Sure we have all played the fool before, but know that heartache is an unavoidable thing of life. Now how you take hold of it, is all up to you. Girls, put on your big girl panties and take risks in forgiving and giving someone new your heart. Saying you will never love again is far from the truth and unrealistic. And to my guys, don’t allow one love turned sour to turn you into the dog that you really aren’t. You’re fooling no one but yourself. We have to remember: never block a blessing because of past stressin’ (I should have that trademarked). So the next time you think “What’s love got to do with it?”, ask yourself first! Are you loving you the way you should? Free yourself and believe me you won’t have to search for love because true love will find you.

Live, laugh, love liberate,

Ki .