Relationships and dating

To Love a Stray

Recently I have been thinking about how people, too, are like stray animals. 

Many of us fall in love with strays. When we take in stray animals, or those others have hurt or given up on, there are many challenges we will face in doing so. It’s not an endeavor to be taken on lightheartedly, with anything less than the best of intentions and effort.

In the beginning, we know little to nothing about their history. Strays are generally left when they needed someone the most, by someone they trusted or loved. They are often even abused or neglected and have a bad past that haunts them, fearful to become close to another who could potentially hurt them or leave them again. 

That distrust is engrained in them. They learn what its like to have to survive alone, often at their worst of times, and end up becoming accustomed to that lifestyle which is now their normal. So when someone new comes along, they are fearful and anxious, afraid to open up or get close again. 

When you recognize this, you are not obligated to take on more than you can handle.  You dont even have to take them in at all. I advise against doing so if only half-heartedly, as well, because these are the ones who need the most work. 

They are going to be guarded and apprehensive, waiting for you to be cruel or unkind, so they can run away and confirm the fact that they were right in their reasons for being alone. 

But if you’re like me, its hard to walk away from someone who needs you…Because you recognize that they too, deserve to be treated with love and with kindness. And you know deep down that theres love left in them.

The stray doesnt come around overnight. They might at first only come around when they need something and once their need has been met, they hide for awhile. But you still put the food out, to show them you care. And they’ll come back for it, because they’re  hungry. 

Day by day, theyll look forward to it. And they might not let you get close enough at first, or even be in hands reach, but theyll make progress. Gradually, youll start to see their demeanor change. You might see their tail start to wag even if they approach you with fear, to only run away again. 

But in due time, should your actions reveal your true intentions and good will, they might stay around a little longer…and maybe eventually let their walls down completely.

If you dont have the time or patience, if you’re going to lash out or hurt them, because it wasnt what you wanted or signed up for…if youre going to give up and turn your back on them, or are doing it only for yourself, taking on this sort of task is not for you.

But if you can find the compassion and warmth in your heart still to help, in spite of  initially being scorned, taken for granted and distrusted, I advise you to consider the effort. Because deep down they need to feel loved and deserve to be shown that there is good left in this world. We’re not all the same. Were not all bad. 

People with walls are only hiding behind them because they feel safer there. But perhaps if they see theres a bright side, theyll want to explore it and venture out. You dont force them to see it or push them into it before theyre ready. But you continue to be kind and positive and offer them something they need or theyre missing. Sooner or later, theyre going to realize that theres no need to hide anymore and theyre going to come out. And you might just find a love, respect and loyalty that is greater than any youve ever known. 

Because people deep down all want to be loved. They just dont want to be hurt. And until you can prove that through your actions and words, without expecting anything in return, those walls will remain in place and theyll continue to hide because until then, youre just like everyone else.

Show them youre different. Show them youre worth it. But do it by giving a part of yourself to them without question or expectations. Show them there isnt a catch. That some things are inherently good. 

That is what love is all about. Putting someone elses needs or happiness above your own. So if you cant do that, and allow yourself to be vulberable and understanding of the process, time and effort, dont bother getting involved. 

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