Here I am preparing to celebrate my thirty-fourth birthday. I can’t believe that It’s been sixteen years since I turned eighteen. Since then, friends and acquaintances have come and gone, boyfriends have come and gone, and I received the great blessing of becoming a mom. I've found through my years, through my experience with my own personal relationships that there are certain truths that affect the quality and longevity of our relationships, and of course the impact they have on us. I want to share them with you today in hopes that they save you from a little heartache and confusion.
1. I believe that in order to truly have a loving, supportive, and long-lasting relationship with someone else, you need to learn how to be your own best friend first. It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self-love deficit.
2. In a few years, people won’t remember what clothes you wore, which car you drove, and maybe not even your full name. But in a few years, they will remember how you made them feel and the positive memories you gave them. The impact you make on people will depend on how much you care for those who have less, support those who are striving, and tolerate those who are different than you.
3. You have to remember that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you. You wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought of you if you knew just how rarely they do. No one is ever going to care about your life and the way you choose to live it more than you will. Follow your heart, and take your brain with you every step of the way. Get to know your true self. When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, not everyone will like you, but you won’t care about that one bit.
4. Always follow your intuition. Following your intuition means doing what feels right, even if it doesn’t look or sound right to others. Friends and family won’t always support your goals, but pursue them anyway. So don’t worry about what everyone else thinks; keep living and speaking your truth. The only people that will get mad at you for doing so are those who want you to live a lie.
5. You have to learn to accept that not everyone is who you once knew. And realize that sometimes it’s not the person you miss, it’s the feeling you had when you were with them.
6. Always remember that some people are meant to stay in your heart, but not in your life. If you’re having a tough time letting go of someone who left you, realize that if they wanted to stay they would still be there. Sometimes you have to forget what’s gone, appreciate what still remains, and look forward to what’s coming next. It sucks when you know that you need to let go, but you can’t because you’re still hoping for the impossible to happen. Yes, it will hurt for a while, but you have to forget about the person who forgot about you, and move on.
7. Believe it or not everyone has baggage, just like you do. The minute someone decides to walk out of your life, that is the same moment in which the opportunity and space opens up for someone who actually deserves your love to finally walk in. Remember, everyone has baggage, so don't be ashamed of yours. Be patient and find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.
8. Also hard to believe is that love doesn't hurt. Love is not the problem. Don’t blame love if a failed relationship interfered with your other important relationships, or robbed you of your self-esteem and personal freedoms. Don’t blame love. Because it wasn't love that stole from you. It was possession, obsession, manipulation, and confusion. Love had nothing to do with it. Because love doesn't close the door against everything that is good. It opens it wide to let more goodness in. Love creates freedom and abundance.
9. Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person with strong character to forgive. When you forgive, you release yourself from a painful burden. And no, forgiveness doesn't mean what happened was OK; and it doesn't mean that person should still be welcome in your life. It simply means you have made peace with the pain, and are ready to let go and move on with your life.
10. I believe that love requires three things: acceptance, honesty, and commitment. Love comes when you care more about who the other person really is, rather than about who you think they should become. It’s about daring to reveal yourself honestly, and daring to be open and vulnerable over the long-term. It’s about sticking by each other’s side through thick and thin, and truly being there in the flesh and spirit when you’re needed most. Remember, the most romantic love story is not Romeo and Juliet who died young together; it’s the story of grandma and grandpa who helped each other through life, and grew old together.
11. Also a big part of who you become is who you choose to surround yourself with. Fate controls who walks into your life, but you decide who you let walk out, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go. Surround yourself with people who make you a better person, and let go of those who don’t.
12. In my opinion a soul mate is the person who brings out the best in you. They are far from perfect, but they are a perfect fit for you. Remember, every relationship has its problems, but what makes it perfect is when you wouldn't want to be anywhere else, especially when times are tough.
I guess you do learn a lot in 34 years :)