A lot of people may look at me and laugh at the numerous times boys have attempted to show their interest or woo my heart. Others may be confused as to why I’d get so much attention. And some wonder what the Dia Frampton, Shannyn Sossamon, or some other random Filipina-actress in the Philippines-look-a-like who always gets asked the, “Are you half-White?” question does to stay so humble.
I don’t know about you, but, although I haven’t had much “real” relationship experience, I’ve experienced enough courtships, friendships and relationships to teach me a little something when it comes to love. I’ve felt things, I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve disappointed and been disappointed, and it’s all been for the better, I’d think.
So, here are some things I’ve learned and taken to heart…
1. When it comes to love, it is a beautiful and sacred thing.
I’ve never been one to really “hook up” or flirt. Sure, I’ve always been one of those tom-girls who got along with the guys better than the gals (or had more guy-friends—an influence of growing up with two older-brothers, I’d think), but, I don’t show emotion or affection unless I mean it. If I show interest towards you or flirt with you, it’s because I’m genuinely interested in something in you. And that doesn’t come-by too often. When I love, I really love. Whole-heartedly.
2. If my heart doesn’t feel it, why go into it?
I’m one of those people who takes relationships very seriously. I don’t like to get intimate without seeing something long-term or worthwhile. If I don’t 100% have strong feelings, why go with it? Sure, that may be bad when I could be missing out on potentials but, when it comes to really delving into something deep within a relationship—after dating and whatnot—my feelings need to be 100% there. If they’re not there, I know I’ll easily lose interest and not stick with it. My passion and drive is what pushes me, so it should be there in love too (like for my passion and drive for things when it comes to music or writing, I always fall back on ‘em).
3. Love is a scary yet beautiful thing.
Perhaps what makes me feel so strongly about love is that I’ve always been a shy person. I’ve always been cautious and knew my own self-worth (which isn’t a bad thing). At a young age, I grew up listening to the few but very special “mentors” I had in my life who helped me to see something more beautiful within love. I sought the deeper connections with people and found the level of emotional understanding and overall camaraderie with someone else as special. Though, making yourself that vulnerable with someone is scary and, for myself, I find no use becoming that vulnerable unless I see something very special with that person.
4. Never go into a relationship thinking you can “change” someone.
Sure, we all have those people who come into our lives and “change us for the better,” but, that is only because they have left a positive impact and influence on your life. That is entirely different from thinking you can change someone. When you go into a relationship thinking you can change someone, you are already putting your own ideals on that person. No one can ever live up to your ideals as much as you may want to bring that out of someone. It may work for some small moments, but the core of who that person is will always return. You should love the person you’re with for who they wholly and completely are. Love them and grow with them—don’t try to change them, or you’ll only end up disappointing yourself and your partner. (I’ve had my own fair share of struggles with this.)
So, know that you shouldn’t try to change someone, but you two will naturally change each other for the better.
5. Lower your standards, but know your worth.
As any other young, hopeless-romantic girl growing up, I became infatuated with love stories. Being a homebody and having an early love for storytelling, I watched a lot of movies and witnessed a lot of stories, observing a lot in my young personal life. I learned a lot from those older than me, and I learned a lot from what movies showed me. Whenever people would ask, “What would your dream man be like,” or “What are some traits you look for in a guy,” I’d have a little list of some qualities I’d find attractive. Sure, handsome was on there. Charming. Confident. Passionate. Honest. Mature. Good relationship with mom and family. Wouldn’t hurt if he was musically-inclined. Or an actor. Or a firefighter. Or could be chivalrous. Or a simple gentleman. Willing to bring out the better-side of me. Show me around his family and include me in his family. … But, that’s all for the movies! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that you can never quite put a list on someone you haven’t even met, or even fallen in love with. Within my past experiences, I’ve known which qualities to perhaps avoid or look out for, for they’ve caused trouble in my life; but, when it comes to love, you never know you will make you smile, or really get you. You never know who you can fall in love with because the chemistry will just be there and it will happen when it happens. Which leads me to my next thing…
6. Patience is a virtue.
Lo and behold, I’ve long often believed love will find you when you least expect it. When you’re actively looking for it, you’re almost in a state of desperation, and that doesn’t mix well when meeting people. Love will find you at the strangest of times because you’ll be living your own life, and doing your own thing, so…
7. You’re most ready to be in a relationship when you’re able to live comfortably alone.
Ever heard of the dependent, needy boyfriend/girlfriend? The one who was too clingy? Or got a bit annoying? Well, the source of that problem may be because that person can’t live without being in a relationship. They may be too insecure to be their own person that they need someone else. That sense of desperation and need for a relationship is never healthy.
When two people are in love, they are able to be their own people when they are apart; when you always need each other, you lose your sense of individuality, and that is never good. Being able to live comfortably alone, you are looking at life and love and relationships at one of the healthiest viewpoints because you don’t need a significant other to make you happy. You can make yourself happy, and your significant other won’t be the only source of your happiness. Your partner will be able to bring you happiness and something even more. Besides, who doesn’t love someone who is confident and able to live independently as well?
8. Be your own person.
I find that a healthy relationship involves two people who can separate lives as well. That way, when it comes to being with each other, it makes your time together that much more meaningful because your time spent together is something special. Also, when things get tough, you will be able to find comfort elsewhere.
When you find that your partner fails to do something, they should know you will be able to handle something on your own as well. That eases the stress as you don’t expect more from each other. You shouldn’t coin your life on that one significant other as your only friend, lover, support system, fun, entertainment, eating-buddy, etc. Sure, your lover should be all of that in one, but they shouldn’t be the only one. Don’t depend your whole life on that person. Because, when you two come together, you shouldn’t need each other. You two should complement and bring out a special part in the other.
Harmony exists in that the opposing forces are able to work beautifully together. The yin-and-the-yang, right? Without opposites and differences in this world, the world would become bland. So own up to yourself, be your own person, and realize that differences can make for a better relationship—because you bring out better sides of each other. When you do come together, you two are stronger than when apart.
9. Realize love will hurt and you need compromise.
I admit I’m not the most knowledgeable person about this, but, I do know that love takes sacrifice. Whether it be your time or values or just something extra, I know times will get tough and differences will arise.
But, those differences are what makes the relationship stronger, I find. I’m one of those people who tends to see things through rose-colored glasses and find all suffering and hurt to be beautiful. (I thrive off my suffering—makes things all the more real in my mind, ya?) Have you ever realized that when you’re down-in-the-dumps and at your lowest of spirits, you rise only to find the most beautiful thing above you? That out of the hardship comes love and saving? If it’s true, you’ll find your way up from it. It’ll take compromise because you’re becoming vulnerable to love. And that was never a bad thing (unless it’s not good for you). But, becoming this vulnerable to something will hurt at times. Finding your ground again makes your connection to love that much stronger. "Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional," a dear friend of mine once told me 3 years ago.
10. Many people may show interest in you, but don’t be fooled (and don’t be too nice).
I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those nice people who may be too nice to the point of it hurting her. As we’re getting older, people (may be) getting wiser. They’re getting smarter about what can charm a person’s heart, or what can woo someone. Maybe they’re looking up what you’re into and pretending they’re into it too.
Good thing for me, at least, I’m able to read a faker when I see ‘em! Whenever I’m interested in something, I am fully interested in it. I know the ins-and-outs of it. You can see the passion light up in my eyes. I suddenly get excited talking about it. Passion for something is a good thing. It’s oftentimes attractive. But if you get weird vibes, or sense a lack of genuineness, or know that they’re trying to “get a piece of ya,” realize it. Don’t play stupid and be attracted to the attention you’re getting. (Sure, I can be victim to this and the attention is always flattering; but, like I said before, know your worth and don’t let it go any further if it’s no good for you, or whatever else it is you believe in.) Simply, don’t play stupid and don’t lead people on. That only confuses things. And that’s very high-school.
And know when you’re being too nice. Let people down, be straight-up and straight-forward, and draw the lines when you need to. Being a “nice” person is different from being a “good” person, so be that good person and do what’s best.
Last but not least…
11. Listen to your intuition.
I’m one of those people who goes by her intuition and feeling. If I don’t feel something, I won’t follow through with it. If I have to follow through with it, I’ll follow half-heartedly but my full self and potential won’t be there. And I hate performing half-assedly. Have you ever heard that a woman’s intuition is always right? Well, it’s true. Always listen to your intuition. Listen to your doubts. Realize your doubts. Listen to your insecurities. Realize your insecurities. Listen to your discomfort, unfeeling, fear, lost love… Listen and realize to all of your feelings. Because, if you don’t, you’ll witness a falling-out. You’ll see things starting to crumble and you’ll stress yourself out if you aren’t honest with yourself. Don’t convince yourself otherwise if you’re just not feeling something. Be honest, and don’t lie to yourself. Those feelings will creep back up and cause more of a heavy heart if dampened, avoided, or pushed aside. Listen to your intuition. It’s always right. It’s the truth telling you to listen to it.
And so, I’m sure there’s more I’ve learned throughout the years. But, these are the few that have stuck out to me (at least, at this point in my life).
A friend of mine recently asked me, "How is it do you stay so humble? How do you suppress the urge? Do you never have to ‘want’ to be in a relationship?"
I feel that that’s such a silly question because, deep-down, we all would love to be in a relationship. We all would love to have someone by our side, to be able to lean on and take interest in our lives. To have that buddy to depend on when times get tough or want someone to hold.
For me, at least at this point in my life, I never went into college with the mindset of “finding someone.” I entered college thinking I’d find a relationship in my life after college. College, I saw, was a time for me to embrace who I am and my own individuality, and to further my own personal goals. I’m one of those self-doubting individuals who’s always looking to improve herself and character and “be the best person I can be.” And, I want to pursue my career and interests and dreams and ambitions before I settle down and find someone I love.
I’ve always told myself, "How can I expect someone else to love me if I can’t even love myself?"
Before going into any relationship, I want to fully feel comfortable and confident within myself before I let someone else in. There’s still so much I want to do with my life and with myself that—and I’m not writing off the potential of finding someone—I’m not actively seeking a relationship. But, if someone nice comes along? If I suddenly meet someone who strikes my interest? Well, of course I’ll let them into my life. I’ve long believed that you never know who you will fall in love with. So, open yourself up to anyone you find interesting or you find an interest in. Because, those moments that just “click” with someone are so rare. Don’t let it go.
Do you, but open yourself up to the possibilities life offers up.
* Goodness that was cheesy. Hah!
Image Source: GirlTalk TV
Natalie Portman, Enough with the ‘strong female characters’ already (via leepace)