Lesson #5: It may feel like the end of the world, but it’s not

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“When you’re young everything feels like the end of the world. But it’s not; it’s just the beginning. You might have to meet a few more jerks, but one day you’re gonna meet a boy who treats you the way you deserve to be treated. Like the sun rises and sets with you.” – 17 Again

This is my favorite quote from the movie 17 Again (The video for the scene is at the bottom of this post) because it is very relatable. Many of us have felt at one time or another that the end of the world had come because of something that happened to us. Someone dies, a friend stabs you in the back, you get dumped, your dad lost his job, your family lost your house. There are all kinds of things that can happen and shake us to the core. In the moment it may feel like our whole world is falling down, but it’s not.

As teenagers or young adults we have only just begun our lives. We have so many more years, so many more experiences, failures, and successes. Maybe our best friend in the whole world stabbed you in the back and you don’t know how you are going to get through the next few months, but trust me, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it is going to hurt for a while, but it gets better.

Sometimes all you need is support from some genuine friends. The kind of friends who care for you on a deep level and are willing to be there for you through thick and thin. When you’re dealing with something and it feels like the world is ending, pay attention to the things that these kinds of friends do. Notice the way they check up on you and/or try to make you smile. You may end up realizing you love them and they love you more than you thought. You may end up appreciating your friends more, and their love may prove that the world is indeed not over.

Personally, I want to thank all of my friends who have been there for me through thick and thin. I appreciate every time you have let me rant. Every time you have given me advice. Every time you have tried to cheer me up. You guys are amazing and I love you. ❤

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Lesson #4: Don’t take anything or anyone for granted and don’t leave anything left unsaid

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We often live as if things will always be the same. As if our own little personal world will always exist. That no one will die or walk away. That we won’t lose anything or anyone that’s of importance to us.

However, there is always the risk of losing something tomorrow. Maybe it’s financial security or a friendship. Maybe it’s your opportunity for education. Those things are not guaranteed. Yet, people walk around as if they are.

I want to focus on people. The fact that no one is guaranteed to stay in your life. No one. Even if you come from a loving family and you know they will always be there for you, you still have no idea what the future may bring. Even if they never choose to leave, life happens, regardless.  The same goes for friends. It is rare to find lifetime friends. Even if you think you have, you still have no idea what could happen.

Yet, people walk around not caring how they treat each other. They blow people off. They treat people like options. They don’t put in effort to communicate. They stay angry long term because they know the other person will stick around. They just completely take people for granted.

Sometimes all it takes is a wakeup call. Someone threatens to walk away, so you snap back to reality. It’s not always that easy, though. Sometimes you lose them for good. I walked away from a friendship in high school that once meant the world to me because it was obvious I was being taken for granted.

Sometimes life just doesn’t give you the chance to try again.

What if you wake up tomorrow and that best friend you once had no longer cares because you made them feel like an option? What if you woke up tomorrow and a family member has passed away before you got the chance to make up after a fight? What if you don’t get a change to say “I’m sorry”? What if you don’t get a chance to say “I love you”? Don’t leave anything left unsaid.

My First Blog: The Result of a Closed-Minded 23 Year Old

I think she makes some really good points.

BEAUrocracy.

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Many of my friends were posting an article on Facebook today written by a 23 year old blogger who came up with a list of 23 things to do besides getting married at 23. Really, all it did was show the world how bad she is at coming up with fun things to do as a single 23 year old woman, and how close-minded she is. However, I must thank her- she is the inspiration behind my very first blog!

I posted a status addressing a few of her poorly thought out suggestions, but I’ll take it a step further here, mainly because I have more space. Before I begin, I’ll let you know, I was (am) 25 when I got married. I am not for or against marrying young. I do not believe there is an “appropriate” age to get married, only an appropriate mindset. So no, I do…

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Lesson #3: Naps are a great thing

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As a child, most of us hated takings naps. If our mother or teacher told us to take a nap, we reluctantly lied down, and many of us never actually went to sleep. We were too entertained with the world around us.

 As we grew older we got less and less sleep, and our childhood energy abandoned us with teenage energy (granted, this is still more energy than we will have twenty or more years down the road). Add on the stress of high school and we are left tired pretty much all of the time. It is then that we realize a nap sounds really good.

If only we could take back all those naps we took for granted as a child. If only we could have naptime like we did in Kindergarten.

However, then we get to college, which is a totally different experience from high school. We don’t have class straight from 8 to 3 and then hours of homework. Of course, we still have several hours of class and homework, but it is spread out more, and we can finally take those things called naps that we wanted in high school. Each day becomes an attempt to balance of class, homework, social life, and napping. It doesn’t make up for the naps we missed as a kid, but at least it’s something.

Of course there is research that says napping for too long or at the wrong times can end up hindering your sleep at night, but in general, I think most people can agree that naps are indeed a great thing.

Lesson #2: Life is NOT a Disney movie

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Most girls grow up watching Disney movies, particularly Disney princess movies. However, do we ever stop to think about how those movies have formed our minds and expectations out of life? Even as a kid there were certain Disney princess movies that bothered me because of their portrayal of life, but as a grown adult, I can see far more that is wrong with Disney movies.

Here are some life lessons that are contrary to Disney movies:

 You cannot look like a Disney princess

If you have ever paid attention, you will see that Disney princess’ waists are tiny. Beyond tiny. Look at their eyes. They are huge. As deviantART artist Meridith Viguet describes, “They look golf-ball sized and somehow, despite whatever lighting they’re in, their pupils never, EVER get smaller.” On top of that all Disney princesses have slender necks and demure shoulders. They also lack hips and have tiny feet.

In real life this is not attainable for any female. While I cannot blame little girls for loving these Disney characters, they need to be aware of the fact that they are unrealistic and beauty can be found without those extreme characteristics.

Dating a criminal is not a good idea

I have not met many girls who have not fallen in love with Flynn Ryder. However, Tangled would not be quite so romantic in real life. Same goes for Aladdin. While these are cute movies where the thief falls in love with a princess and leaves behind his bad ways, this does not normally happen in real life. Chances are, if you decide to date a criminal, he is not going to change. He’s just not. In general, men are not going to just change because you date them. You are not a Disney princess, after all.

 True love is not easily found or kept

Disney movies portray love as if you can just know it in an instant. They have no problem with the idea of love at first sight. In most cases the heroine does not know the hero for long before she deems herself “in love”. Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Pocahontas are examples of this.

In real life, love takes a lot longer to take form than a few minutes or even a few hours. Love takes time to grow, and it is difficult to discern what is and isn’t true love.

 Princes Charming does not always ride in on a white horse to save the day

Taylor Swift got one thing right when she sang, “I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairy tale, I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet, lead her up the stairwell.” In real life, the prince does not always ride in at the last minute to save the day. In reality, many times you have to be your own hero.

 There are no happily ever afters

While Disney movies typically end with a happily ever after, this does not happen in real life. In real life, a kiss or a wedding does not ensure happiness. Happiness is a journey and not a destination. It takes constant effort and there will always be challenges.

Lesson #1: Love, Don’t Use

It should be obvious if you are using someone, right? I think that is what a lot of people think, but I believe this statement couldn’t be farther from the truth.

When it comes to relationships, people usually assume that the only kind of use is physical/sexual use. However, in both relationships and friendships, it can be easy to emotionally use someone. This kind of use is not nearly as obvious to the user or the person being used because it is much subtler.

When you are emotionally using someone, you “care” about them simply for the sake of your own happiness. While loving someone is supposed to be about putting the other person first and making them happy, the emotional user simply tries to make the other person happy because they know that in return that person will continue to do things that will please the user. On the surface this can appear to be legitimate love, but in reality it is far from love. The user only truly cares about themselves.

What complicates things is that the user often does not realize they are using the other person. They confuse their desire for their own happiness with actually caring about the other person. They think they are selflessly giving themselves, but in reality they are just trying to attain their own happiness.

So, how can you tell if you are being emotionally used?

Although it can be hard to tell if someone is emotionally using, there are some signs that can give it away:

  1. He/she only gives a gift or spends money if he/she knows that you will return the favor at some point, even if they do not make this obvious
  2. He/she only gives you his/her time if it is convenient for him/her
  3. He/she constantly puts him/herself down, eliciting compliments from you
  4. He/she tends not to be friends with or close to people for long

The first time I experienced this was with a girl who I believed to be my first real best friend. We were in high school and ended up being “best friends” for a little over a year. In the end, it appeared that she had gotten bored of me. She simply did not want to be friends anymore. However, a real friend loves you, and love does not simply stop. Therefore, you cannot simply stop being a friend. You either were a friend or you weren’t. It took me a while to realize that she had simply used me emotionally. However, to this day, I highly doubt she ever had any idea that this was the case.

I actually once read something she had written where she said that her relationships never lasted long because she “gets bored of people”. Those were her actual words. I couldn’t believe she would actually say that. The fact that she would say that showed me that she did not realize what it means to get bored of someone.

You get bored of objects, activities, songs, movies, etc. However, you do not get bored of people. To be bored of a person is to reduce them to an object. To reduce someone to an object is to use them. In this case, it is to emotionally use them. By admitting that she gets bored of people, this friend of mine admitted that she emotionally uses people. However, she would not have admitted this if she realized what it meant, so I cannot fully blame her. I know that she does not intend to use and hurt people. Clearly she needs to figure out how to treat people, though.

Personally, I have grown up being taught how to truly love and care about people. Mix that with my personality, and I cannot help but genuinely love and care about the people in my life. It seems so strange to me that someone could get bored of another human being. I can understand if one or both of you change and you do not fit well together anymore, but I cannot understand getting bored of someone because I cannot understand reducing someone to an object. However, it does happen, and both the user and the person being used do not always realize it is happen.

The remedy to this problem is to figure out what it truly means to love someone. As 1 Corinthians 13 puts it: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Jaeson Ma accurately depicts this kind of love in his song “Love”.

In short, love is about putting someone else before yourself. It is about what you give, not what you get. If everyone truly exercised this kind of love in all of their relationships, the problem of using would not exist.