Ok, so I might be biased in my affection and admiration of Jane Austen, but I know I’m not the only one who can learn something from her. I’ve recently been going through a lot of personal changes and they’ve had me thinking about a deep-seated and long-avoided problem: I am terrified of relationships.
When I say terrified, I don’t just mean “scared to end up with all the wrong guys” but more like “no way in h** am I touching anything resembling a serious relationship with a ten foot pole.” Is this weird? Perhaps it’s my lack of experience speaking, but either way, I look back and see so many missed opportunities — all because I was scared to take a risk and let myself fall. The reason? Because I have a penchant for over thinking every situation until I’ve confused even myself. You’d think after reading Jane’s novels more times than I can count, that I’d be more inclined to romance. That’s just it though — as much as Jane’s novels are often perceived to be little more than love stories (wrong on all counts!), there are actually deeper lessons to be learned. Ones which all of us, terrified of relationships or not, could benefit from learning.
I’m not saying you have to love Jane Austen novels. But that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate what she stands for. This is a woman whose prose carved out an indelible mark on literature and whose characters have withstood the test of time. We come back to them again and again because they’re just like us: insecure, imperfect and looking for someone who just gets it. They remind us that keeping an open mind and being honest with communication (that means you, Frank Churchill) are essential to any working relationship.
Embracing your inner Jane doesn’t mean it will make you suddenly less terrified of relationships or more bold in your actions, but it will help to put things in perspective. If you can take a step back and look at the bigger picture, you’ll see that the “scary things” are obstacles that can be overcome if you give yourself the chance. By changing your mindset, you’ll be more inclined to take a leap of faith. And who knows where you’ll end up. Wouldn’t you say that’s the best part, though?
I like to think that someday I will be ready to let myself fall for someone. I don’t know when it might happen or who it may be with, but if I want love, it will be up to me to ask for it. In the meantime, I continue to take more of Jane’s wisdom to heart. Living and falling in love means being open to possibility and being taken by surprise. (Any Austen heroine can tell you that.) So pay attention to even the smallest everyday events; they often contain the most important details and moments of feeling. Sure, it may not work out the first time (or second, or third….), but we can’t be afraid to stop trying. There is someone out there who deserves you. So ladies, what is YOUR inner Jane telling you?
Photo found on http://azurill.tumblr.com/page/2