You can’t change the past, especially not when it comes to love. You can’t skip that first date that ended in disaster, you can’t save yourself the tears of heartbreak and you can’t re-live that summer that you thought would never end. But you can learn from the past. With Valentine’s Day not far away, I’ve been reflecting on what love lessons I’d want to share with my younger self, if only I had the chance.
1. Don’t settle for second best, you’re too good for that. Be single for as long as it takes you to find someone worth spending your precious time with. You won’t end up alone.
2. People rarely change. If he/she starts out on the wrong foot, the chances are it’ll continue that way. Don’t let yourself be let down more than you need to.
3. This may be one of my most treasured love lessons. Don’t value your own self worth through the eyes of someone else. It may sound old-fashioned but it’s true, take the time to learn to love yourself before loving somebody else.
4. Set the tone when you’re dating. If you change who you are initially, then you’re more likely to be the one who’s always compromising. Always do you.
5. Never be made to feel like you have to change yourself for someone else. You’re great just as you are, don’t let someone else’s insecurities define you.
6. Don’t commit years of your life so much so that you stop living. Travel, go on adventures with your friends and experience things you’ve always dreamt of. Now is the time.
7. Don’t date someone with bad manners. The likelihood is they’ll use those same manners on you at some point. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
8. Never waste your life in a relationship that you know is doomed from the start or not quite as you imaged it to be. You’ll never get that wasted time back – trust your gut.
9. Recognise when he/she is just not that into you, it’s embarrassing to keep trying to win someone over. At the end of the day, it’s their loss.
10. Don’t waste your time being anxious, wondering when you’ll find the right person. It’ll happen all in good time and when it does, you’ll never look back.
11. It’s not all about material goods. Don’t fall for someone based on the fact they have the latest tech or they have the right postcode. Find out who they really are beneath the exterior.
12. Don’t judge a person based on their looks, status or qualifications, superficial details are just that. In the long term, personality is so much more important.
13. Never ditch your mates in favour of your other half, if the worst happens, you’ll need them around you but not just that, you’ll learn a lot from them during your life.
14. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything. End it now, you don’t want to spend your life second-guessing, looking over your shoulder and checking their social accounts. Also, don’t let a third party threaten what you have, communication will always be key.
15. Never compare yourself to their exes. They are exes for a reason. You are who you are, that’s why they are with you. Don’t ruin the present.
16. The butterflies are a real thing. When you get them, you’ll know what I mean.
17. Make time for you. You know what it’s like, you have a new partner and you want to spend all your time with them… sometimes that’s not for the best. Learn to stand on your own two feet – go to that gym class, read that book or go on that solo shopping spree.
18. Be brave. Heartbreak happens to everyone. Just learn to love like you’ve never been hurt each time. Your life will be a richer experience if you do.
19. Don’t let daily affection slide. In today’s world, it’s needed more than ever. If it’s a peck on the cheek, a cuddle or a cup of tea – do it.
20. The right kind of relationship is the one that makes you want to be a better person, not just for them but for you. Admire and respect one another, flaws and all.
21. Don’t be disappointed if your relationship isn’t like it is in the movies, your relationship is unique and personal to you – it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows but it’ll be worth it.
22. Old but true. Actions speak louder than words. Don’t make excuses for people when you don’t need to – it soon becomes old.
23. Be impulsive but keep your head on your shoulders. There’s a time for going with your heart and there’s also a time for running with your head. Make sure you know which one is the right course of action.
24. Don’t be scared to say how you feel. Rejection hurts but time could be wasted and suffering can be avoided with an easy conversation – NOT an e-mail, Whatsapp or DM.
25. Be open-minded. Love presents itself in various forms, sometimes those closest to you. Don’t settle for a type you think you have, experiment whilst you’re young.
26. It is NEVER too late for a second chance. Your first love won’t necessarily be your last. But if it is, enjoy it and seek all the happiness in the world.
27. Listen to your family and friends’ love lessons. When the time is appropriate, they’ll be a guiding force.
Have you got any love lessons you’d add to the list?