Spring is a time for new beginnings, new crushes and for some, new or perhaps first, relationships. Since we’ve just broken into December, that means you’ve still got PLENTY of time to get yourself relationship ready so you’ll be primed for any romantic opportunity that might come your way. You might think you’re all systems go for a relationship NOW, but be sure the check-list below is in place first and keep yourself on track with it this winter.
1) Don’t be THAT girl. You know the one I’m talking about. The girl who completely devotes all of her time and energy into winning a guy’s attention and affection; the girl who wishes all fall for a boyfriend by Christmas (or Hanukkah). The girl who ditches out on friends the moment a guy comes into view or the girl who stresses every second about each outfit a crush might see her in, what his glance might have meant, whether or not he finds her cute enough, skinny enough, smart enough, funny enough. Don’t let somebody else dictate your desirability or leave you feeling less than enough, and DO NOT spend all day on Tumblr and Facebook trolling for clues about your crush’s true feelings for you or anyone else.
If you’re anywhere between middle school and university right now, odds are you’ve crossed paths with the pressure and desire to get yourself a girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s natural to want to experience love and coupledom at some point, but it’s simply one of those trite truths in life that you will become 100% more attractive to everyone around you the minute you answer only to your own standards of self, and not someone else’s. I’ve personally succumb to this in my life, as I know many others have too, but daydreaming the hours away about your crush, wishing he or she would just finally come to their senses and love you back, and putting all of your focus on him or her is time that could have been spent developing yourself, watching awesome movies, implementing a workout routine, winning gold medals, starting a band, seeing friends, reading Lisi’s books… And BONUS: your future boyfriend will find you exponentially more attractive if you’re someone who has her own interests and priorities in check. It’s like magic, promise. I know, I know–it’s incredibly hard with so much out there telling you what to look like [SPOILER ALERT: EVERYTHING is photoshopped and even plus sized models don’t get to be plus sized anymore], what to care about, how to live your life, how to “get the guy,” etc., but your inner self knows what’s right for you, what your true passions are, and how to keep following them on your personal path. Playing games and fitting an arbitrary mold have nothing to do with that, so live to make yourself proud, first and foremost. Harder said than done, but practice makes (almost) perfect. Onto #2.
2) Now that you’re excelling in NOT being the type of person consumed by being in a relationship, odds are you’ll have a lot more time and energy on your hands, as well as happiness. Now’s the time to get to work on yourself. What if you don’t know yourself all that well yet and are still figuring it out? Then it’s even more important for you to try out new hobbies, read various kinds of books, listen to music you’d never think you’d like, spend nights in, stay out late, be the best friend you can be to those already in your life. Over the next few months, get some quality ‘you’ time in and take yourself to all the places you’ve been wanting to go but didn’t have a crush to go with. Want to hit that cute bookstore/coffee house for an afternoon? Make it a self date, bring your copy of Pretenders and go. Really been dying to get to a theme park lately? Grab a couple of your best girlfriends and keep it no crushes allowed. Wanting to learn how to paint or make DIY journals? Find a weekend class in your area and make it an art date for the self. Create memories and experiences for yourself and learn what’s important to you. What makes you who you are? What are the things you love most and why?
3) Prep yourself by lowering fairy tale expectations. This doesn’t mean to expect the worst in all situations or to truly not expect anything at all, but to add a dash of realism on the romance front. We all want what those lucky lovers get at the end of movies: to live happily ever after. But the thing about that is, it’s fiction. Somebody, or sometimes many somebodies, sat in a room and wrote a story about two people who overcame odds to find and love each other. And it was born form their collective imaginations, as well as the expectations of their audience who WANT the lovers to have fate on their side. Truth is, it is REALLY difficult for two people to get along over a long period of time no matter how twitterpated they were at the start, especially when normal life comes into play and the excitement of a new relationship wears off. When you do experience a long-term relationship, you might have days of serious doubt, moments of wondering if you’re with the right person or if it’s working, jealousies will arise, bickering and fights over silly stuff you never thought could come between two people who love each other. You may even find out you’re simply too different–or too alike. Your own insecurities also tend to come up when you’re starting a new relationship or are becoming even more intimately bonded. Trust is hard for most and we all carry our own pains and baggage from the lives we’ve led up until the point of our relationship. I don’t want to dash all of your dreams here. There will very well also be moments you share that seem plucked straight from your favorite rom-com, so romantic and so written in the stars, how could fairy tales not be real? But happy endings don’t all look the same and we must be ready and willing to take the great and the not so great, and even the downright boring. The times when loving your boyfriend or girlfriend is easy, as well as the times when it’s the last thing you can bring yourself to do. We must also keep in mind that sometimes the crush we had our heart set on for so long in school might not have been the best fit for us after all, and maybe it’s best to shift into friend zone. Knowing when to walk away with grace instead of holding onto something that isn’t working or doesn’t make you feel happy and loved is a tough lesson, but one you’ll certainly learn throughout your love experiences. So stay open and consider #3 while you’re still flying solo, and even keep it in mind once you’re attached. Be willing to experience your future relationship in whatever shape and color it develops into, and then see if it works for you and is the kind of love you want. Give yourself and your someday-love the benefit of the doubt, for they too are human and doing the best they can each day, just like you.
4) Get busy moving. This will not only occupy your mind and keep you from drowning in thoughts of unrequited love, it will also keep you healthy and feeling confident throughout the winter holidays that necessitate binging on 5 lbs. of pastries per event. Exercise is essential not only for heart health, but also for your brain. It will help you keep a clear head and be able to see situations more calmly and logically when the hormones of crush-love come pulsating through your body. Of course, becoming or staying active is pretty difficult to do throughout the winter months when cuddling up in pj’s on the couch seems to be more in order. You’ll want to feel healthy and strong come spring when the sun is shining again so my advice is to make a pact with yourself to get your body moving at least 2-3 times per week. If all you can muster is a speed walking session with your grandma, then so be it, but try to get some outdoor ‘play’ time in if at all possible. Bring your dog and a friend on an easy hike and make an afternoon of it, or try dancing like nobody’s watching for 15 minutes straight and get your cardio in without even realizing it.
5) Find what makes you weirdest and let those qualities become what you love most about yourself. We are all so, so weird inside. Really. Some of us are just better at pretending we’re less weird than others. This really is a disservice overall because we forget how amazing our quirky ways really are and sometimes even become ashamed of our unique parts, and try to conform to what is most accepted, or visible, around us. Below is one of my favorite stories ever by Shel Silverstein. It illustrates my point perfectly.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier, not to mention so much better, to simply find the kind of romantic mate that works best with all of your unique edges that make you YOU? We spend a lot of time dressing ourselves up just to get closer to someone so we can remove our walls one onion layer at a time, and THEN see if our true selves work together. I’m not advocating putting it ALL out there 24/7 and making our personal lives public to the world or letting our issues become everybody else’s problem, but I am saying you will find the right people to crush on, and they will find you in return, if you are doing your best to be your authentic self. Again, also so much harder to accomplish than to suggest. It takes real courage to do this, and it’s going to be a struggle, but each and every one of you are so much stronger than you can imagine, so I know it’s possible for all of you. One day soon, you will see it for yourselves. Each time you practice authenticity of your amazingly wondrous perfect self, you’ll feel a little brighter, a little stronger, a little more able to love another the way you’d like to be loved, and that energy will come back your way ten fold. Promise.
And don’t forget: if by spring no such romantic interest is on the horizon, it doesn’t mean it will never happen for you. It just means your future love might still be masking his blue, and you’ll have to be a little patient until he can catch up with your awesome personal evolution. 😉 In the meantime, you’ve still got this:
As usual, Lisi will be back next week with another amazing post for you. Thanks for stopping by the Office Elf blog and happy holidays to all!