Rilke writes, “Love is not learned,” and neither is it chosen. We cannot decide whether or not to love some-one. The feelings arise or they do not. Our only alternatives are to accept them or to try to ignore them, to act in accordance with our caring or to avoid further contact with someone who begins to matter to us.
If we’ve been abused or abandoned by people we cared about too many times in the past, we are likely to play it safe. We cannot decide never to love again, but we can be more careful about whom we entrust with our affection — it’s important to be careful, but not too careful.
We have to discover the break point between cowardice and recklessness, between taking worthwhile risks and missing opportunities for better relation-ships than we’ve ever had before. There’s no hope for receiving love that can be trusted unless we are willing to take chances. Risk getting hurt once more, or settle for life without a love that is fulfilled.
We cannot love without the willingness to risk getting hurt.