Today is going to be pretty long, bear with me.

Whenever people come and go in our lives, we carry us impressions and the remaining brands that they have made upon us. I have always believed that those who you have been lucky enough to be loved by hold pieces of your heart. Some of those pieces are different shapes and sizes, but they are always there…no matter what. Whether these people were friends, relatives, or lovers, the effects are the same. Similarly, you leave a piece of yourself with them. This is what happens when you make a connection.

There have been lots of things I have learned so far throughout my lifetime, but today I was reminded of one of the most important lessons I have ever learned. I was reminded, that with love, you can create any possibility. You can break down barriers, you can foster forgiveness even during times of suffering, and you can show those who may not completely understand you…compassion. One of my favorite parts of any quote book is the section of what people write about love. Because love is probably the only emotion that really cannot be described to its fullest, you have to feel it. You have to feel deep down in your bones that itching feeling and those butterflies when you see that other person. I spent a lot of my life only showing lovers my love. But it came to me that this is only a third of the equation. You must show everyone that deep burning passionate love…for if you don’t…you are only shutting yourself off from the world. Watch the following…I believe in this.

This is one of the pieces of advice, albeit not exactly from someone who spoke to me specifically, that I will always follow. You forget your head, and you listen to your heart… You have to try, because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived. There are a few speeches that broke me out of fear of showing love and compassion. There once was a time that things went cold for a while. But I found that life isn’t about knowing exactly what is going to happen in every situation, it’s about experiencing it all and learning from it. With the people you love and care about, the bets are pretty high…but like in any poker game, you win some and you lose some. That is the ebb and flow of life. If we do not lose…how can we ever feel the satisfaction of that person who is truly there for us and loves us to death? You can’t. And if you play it safe, you won’t even leave yourself open to that chance.

You cannot be scared of losing people. When you have this fear that they will leave, one of two things will happen. They will leave, or, you won’t give them everything you’ve got. Do not protect your heart from those who deserve to see and feel it. That passion inside of you could brighten the light in someones day. I know that there have been many times where I have had someone share with me something that I know meant a lot to them. They were incredibly vulnerable with me…and you know what that showed? Trust. You can’t really make people trust you. You have to do this through action. It is funny that people will inherently understand who you are just by being around you. They can tell when you have a mask on, and even more, when you are not trustworthy. Chalk it up to the innate human ability to sense what other people are like. If you’ve ever read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, you understand what I am talking about.

I have had a major change of acting over the past year. For the longest time, I had let the past dictate my present and therefore control my future. However, I was made aware of the fact that by doing this, you will only be controlled by your past. After this realization, I went to work, cleaning up everything in my past and creating whatever I wanted in the moment. Things changed drastically. I became a new soul. Fresh. Bold. Resilient. Passionate. Because I realized that everything up until yesterday was just part of a story…I was able to turn the page on each day and start writing on a new one. I was able to paint on a white canvas each day…with new colors…and most importantly…with whatever colors I wanted.

There will be times in your life when you get hurt. You will do whatever you think is necessary to protect yourself. This is called reacting. We each react in our own way to things…and that is what makes each of us completely unique. But there is something deeper that needs to be at play. It is about being right or wrong, it’s about creating something that is so powerful between people who it can bridge the gap of one person hurting another. It’s about creating a possibility for something better, for something stronger, even if society pushes you to act another way. Love creates possibilities. It can drive you to overcome struggle…to go the distance for someone…and to tear down personal walls that may go up to protect yourself. When you deep down care about someone, you just know.

Everyone speaks in code to each other. Unfortunately, not everyone understands in the moment what the code may be. As most men and women know, we speak completely different code to each other. This often leads to unbelievable mixups and misunderstandings. Then we have different people with different past experiences speaking different types of code to each other on top of the male/female battle. Good lord, it’s a miracle that anyone understands anybody. There must be something else at play here. I always believed that it is connection that bridges the gap between the code misunderstanding. What I have tried to do as a developing young man is to understand that there are many different ways of interpreting situations and things that have been said to me. I try to see things from many different angles. One of the best ways to understand this is that someone may do something in which you believe that they did it out of a negative intention. But if you don’t really know what the intent was, then you have to look at the opposite side. You have to see that they could have done the exact same thing with a positive intention. You have to see both sides of the coin, and that people may have done something out of love as much as they did out of…well, whatever you want to call it.

I told you today was going to be long, but my mind has been just swimming with thoughts. Today really does boil down to one thing, if you care about someone, you will let them know…and you will follow-up with likewise actions. I really do try to let the people around me know that I care about them. That I am here for them. And something I have also been working on is letting people know…even when they leave…that I will always be here for them.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project