"Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart."
- Washington Irving - 

Lisa Fonssagrives at photographed on the platform at Paddington Station, London. This photo by Toni Frissell was published in Harpers Bazaar in 1951.
Unrequited love: or one-sided love is love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such by the beloved. The beloved may not be aware of the admirer's deep and strong romantic affection, or may consciously reject it.

I am a late bloomer when it comes to feelings. I have been raised in an emotionally cold family where the word 'love' was rarely spoken. I grew into a girl with walls so high because I thought that was the smart and best thing to do. Fortunately, as I transitioned into a young adult I began reading books and fell in love with poetry; literature became my best friend, and many classic authors and poets influenced my point of view on love and having feelings for others. I thought to myself: "If love is something that can potentially turn into such beautiful poetry, then it must be worth it!"

Despite having this change of mind and heart, and having my walls slowly destructed, I was still introverted by nature. I wasn't the sort of person to have many friends or love interests, in fact I was often lonely and found myself very secure in my introverted nature (which is nothing wrong by the way! I learnt to make peace with my introversion); but nobody ever told me that as an introvert, and after being and feeling lonely for a while, loving somebody can cause severe emotional attachment, because you simply can't relate to many people, and the moment you begin to have feelings for somebody ... it may be a little bit too much feeling. 

So imagine the relief I had when I started showing signs of loving somebody, a person who was once a stranger. I was so relieved because 'finally, I'm one of the lucky ones!' I told myself ... until I noticed the tragedies that I never knew about loving someone: they may never love you back.

For the first time in a very long time my view on love shifted. I was the happy girl who looked forward to the feeling, the romanticized idea of loving somebody was very appealing to me. But one day I felt what we usually call 'rejection', and trust me ... it did not feel beautiful like the poetry I have read.

"Thank you for opening my eyes to the tragedies that come with loving someone", I thought. You can love all you can love, but nobody is ever obliged to love you back.

Yes it sucks, it hurts and its probably the most painful type of emotion you can go through (after the tragic loss of a beloved one). However, I do believe there are ways to handle it, or survive it. You can learn from it, and you can move on.

Allow yourself to feel the pain

There will be that physical pain on your chest that you can't explain, and it's okay to have the time to really feel it, acknowledge it, and address why you are feeling hurt. I don't know how else to state this other than to spend the time feeling the pain, instead of trying to push it away or forget about it. It is normal to be hurt after being rejected by someone you truly had strong feelings for.

He/She does not owe you anything

This is probably the hardest thing to acknowledge, but nobody ever owes you anything. Nobody owes you your feelings back, and you certainly cannot force anybody to love you back. Addressing this and understanding it early on after being rejected helps healing your broken heart (urgh, I hate this metaphor). I learnt that taking the positive of the experience, whether it is the good memories or the shared understanding you had with that particular person is better than holding bitter feelings towards the person who rejected you, and remember ... they don't owe you anything.

Make progress, not distractions

Many may advise you to distract yourself from the way you're feeling; personally, this would never work for me because at the end of the day I retreat myself into my own comfortable space and think about that person again. Instead, I realized that working on one goal and making small progress each time works better for me, as it makes me more excited about my own personal goals that I have set to myself. I took the energy I lost on love and shifted it onto my own goals, my own progress that I wanted to see myself making. Little by little, I started to love myself more because I noticed that I was making progress towards future goals, instead of distracting myself on small stuff that didn't matter much to me.

So my advice is: work on something bigger than small distractions.

DO Distance yourself

It is difficult to decrease the strength of your feelings towards a person if you are constantly talking to the person, or looking at the person. I strongly advise you to distance yourself for your own good and well-being, especially if you find it so difficult to be around that person and not be with them. This might take time, it may be months or even years until you are able to talk to that person again normally (in cases where you started as good friends). Sometimes you may never get to talk to the person at all!

Don't be hard on yourself, and slowly regain confidence.