Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dear 15 Year Old Self,

My boss, Ashley #1, found an article and sent it my way saying, "Love Struck material." I read it, and of course I agreed. The Huffington Post article "15 Truths I Wish I'd Known About Love 15 Years Ago" is one that everybody should read and then reflect on. Considering I was only 8 years old, I can't write mine based on 15 years ago. But, I was 15 years old 8 years ago…so here are my 8 truths I'd wish I'd known about love 8 years ago.

1. It's not the end of your world. 
I look back at myself and can't help but giggle. I thought one person made up my world. I was determined that he was the one. By he, I mean my first love. When we would fight or break up, I would become so devastated…with a hint of crazy…but as far as I knew, my life was over. I'd be single forever. While still dating this person on and off at the beginning of college, I literally woke up one day and was over it. He wasn't my world…and looking back, he never really was. I don't regret all of the emotion I felt over several years, but sometimes you have to shed a few tears, eat some ice cream, and slap a smile on your face. 

Parting ways won't be the end of your world; it will actually be the beginning of a whole new one. Remember this in any relationships end. 

2. Personality > Appearance. 
Girls (or teens) do not look their age these days. They look older than me. Attention young-girls-wearing-too-much-makeup-and-not-enough-clothes, you won't find a healthy relationship that way, and you may be attracting the wrong boys.

You think your looks mean everything now, but 8 years from now, you will care about your HEALTH and finding yourself.

Eight years from now, after a few bad relationships, you will find out that finding someone with an awesome personality and someone who values your personality will lead to a much better relationship than one completely consumed by sexiness. Guess what, your personality can be sexy too.

3. Love yourself first.  
At 15 years young, I forgot to love myself and thought it was only about loving someone else. I was wrong.

You are young, and this time is meant for you to learn how to love yourself. If you don't appreciate and love yourself, then you won't know how to really love or appreciate someone else.

4. It's OK to be single. 
I went through a 6 year phase of binge dating and relationships. Two long term relationships happened during that time. When I was a Sophomore in college, I decided to take a break. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I didn't date again for two and a half years. During that time, I did several things that were out of my comfort zone (took a spring break trip to Hawaii with a complete group of strangers), concentrated on family (rebuilt a relationship with my mom), and I figured out what I wanted to do with my life post college (I took several internships, built a resume, and gained tons of experience). I found myself through going out of my comfort zone and challenging myself on what I wanted out of this one life.

In 8 years, you will be thankful for that time alone. You will be so scared, but it will be completely worth it. And remember, you really aren't ever alone.

5. Take hints.
I failed miserably at taking hints. I ended up hurt at the end of it. This one is common sense: If he isn't calling/texting you, then he isn't into you. Don't push it.

Don't worry. You will only feel the pain of rejection for a night, and then you will move on. In 8 years, you will have forgotten those losers anyway.

P.S. Make sure he takes your hints as well. No means NO. Period. Stick to your guns and don't be pressured.

6. You might never know why. Accept it. 
Sometimes in life, you will have to go through things and there won't be a rhyme or reason for it. This is especially true in relationships. I used to need a reason to try to make sense of why a break up was happening or why someone didn't like me. Well, that reason doesn't matter because it wouldn't have made me feel any better.

Things fall a part for a reason that you may never know. You don't always need a reason. Be Ok with it. Trust yourself and your decision. Accept it. Then, let it go.

7. Love isn't what you think it is.
I knew that I was in love in high school. Putting his needs before my own, constantly wondering what he was doing, always wanting to see him…well, this was more like an infatuation than being in love. At 15, I would've debated that statement and defended my love. Three serious relationships and eight years later, I've learned the difference between being in love and lust/infatuation.

My young self, you think you know what love is, but you have no idea of what love love entails. Real love is so much deeper than what you felt in the past. It's not just an infatuation or obsession. Real love is a deep connection where both people acknowledge, respect, and appreciate each other's unique nature and well-being for the individual and the relationship.

That may be too wordy for my 15 year old self. But just know, it's better than anything you will experience in high school.

8. Don't search for love. 
They say love finds you in the most unexpected moments and places, and I believe it. There's no need to spend your days searching for your soul mate. Instead of searching for the wrong love (the kind you want just because you are single and "lonely"), love yourself and the right love will enter your life.

Love isn't something you need to look for or seek out, like it's something missing from your life. Love is something you already have. You are love, and you are loved. It's basically a lifestyle, a way of living. It's a state of mind. Live your life doing these three things: Love yourself, love others, love life and then everything else will happen in the right time.

Dear 15 year old self, don't give up. You have so much love to give, and there's an even better love out there waiting for you.

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