Since November 2010, I've written 712 posts. Some of them have been about smiles and laughs - but there have been quite a few more that were about bad dates or tough lessons.
712 posts is a lot of tears, and a lot of lessons.
Recently, I met yet another guy who said he really liked me...and it turned out he did not. I caught myself in the middle of a little pity-party the other night, thinking about all the times I've been misled, lied to, or hurt.
I found myself wondering why some women seem to have it better. They meet men more quickly, find guys who really like them, and even find relationships much more easily.
So what's wrong with me? I wondered.
But that really is the wrong question.
Everyone's path is different. Meeting guys quickly, or finding relationships easily is simply not part of my journey - and that's OK. I just need to have faith that my path will get me to the right place, in the right time.
Which is fine - but sometimes I still wonder, why does my path have to include so many tears?
The answer is, because I trust. I give people the chance to hurt me.
It's tempting to take that opportunity away - to stop dating, or stop trusting. In some ways, it almost feels that would be the smarter, stronger thing. Toughen up, and stop allowing my feelings to be hurt.
But I don't think that's the answer. There's nothing brave or strong about walking away from a challenge. There is no honor in avoiding the hurt. Honor is found in working through the hurt.
If it's true that courage is the triumph over fear, and not its absence, then maybe the real courage in dating isn't to walk away.
Maybe it's learning to shed the tears, and wear the lessons like a badge of courage, as you keep moving forward.