This Is What “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” Taught Me

This is What “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” Taught Me

I am a huge fan of romantic comedies and am happy to see that they are making a resurgence in our world. We all need some good feelings and heart melting moments right now; life is hard. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before did not disappoint me.

For those who have not been on Netflix or missed the buzz about the book, To All the Boys is centered on Laura Jean Covey. Laura Jean has deep wild crushes and to deal with the unrequited love she writes love letters. There are five letters, ranging from camp crushes to the boy next door, who is her best friend and just so happens to be her sister’s boyfriend. Early in her junior year of high school, her letters get sent out to all the crushes and things spiral from there. To All The Boys is a beautiful book that translates beautifully into film. It is worth the watch and the read.

Deep down, I am Laura Jean. I have written and proclaimed to the world my lack of relationship status. In my 25 years, I have never been in a relationship or been close to being in one. But, if I am honest, it is not from a lack of men who possess the integrity that I am attracted to; it is from my lack of honesty. Laura Jean keeps her feelings inside; she does not risk speaking up and saying, “I like you.” She writes these longing letters and seals them up. The biggest risk she takes with those letters is addressing them, which lands her in her predicament.

Honesty is the most vulnerable state in which we can live. I desire others to be honest with me, but I am not willing to take the risk in return. Laura Jean wants to fall in love. Like most of us, she wants to be loved, but she knows that the more you open up, the greater the risk of being hurt. Losing her mother at an early age helped shaped this view. Loss of friendships at a young age and throughout my life, shaped mine.

Whether it is in expressing feelings of attraction and happy vulnerabilities or in having a hard conversation, honesty is a risk. Rejection is what we fear but living in the fantasy of honesty is just as lonely and painful as rejection. Getting hurt is also something we can try to avoid, but, like failure, it is an invitation to keep growing, loving, and becoming. What we fear is rational; it is real and not easy to be rejected, but are we not all worth taking a risk on? If my dearest friend had not taken a chance on an emotionally burned out girl, we would not be friends today. If no one ever took the risk of uttering those first words, “I like you,” millions of love stories would not have been written; you and I might not be here today.

There is beauty in writing letters to process emotions, but processing should not stop us from speaking up in our lives about how we feel, who we like, what we are going through, or sharing our tears and our hearts with each other. We are all worth taking a risk on, opening up our hearts to, and being known by one another—in love and friendship.

Like Laura Jean, I hope we can step outside of our fantasies and hopes and start living, taking chances and being honest with the people around us. Here is to sending out our letters, sharing our feelings when we feel them, taking the risk of letting others into our lives and hearts, and letting people see us. This life is worth living honestly.

Please catch To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before on Nextflix and pick up the book by Jenny Han; she is a beautiful story writer. You can continue to follow Laura Jean’s story in the two sequels that are available now. (To grab all three on Amazon, click here.)

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