What you can learn from the past
Whether your first love was a hopeless crush on a celebrity or an innocent holiday romance, the early experiences we have of romance can shape our future in many different ways. Not all romantic experiences are good and most people will remember the pain of their first heartbreak perhaps vowing never to allow themselves to be hurt in that way again.
Everyone lost the innocence of youth at some point but how those experiences affect your romantic life today will depend very much on how you processed what happened to you.
If you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self what would you say?
Most teenagers are very critical of their body and their looks. Often it is not until later life that we realise that we were actually at our prime but were too self conscious to fully appreciate it. They say youth is wasted on the young! Those patterns of thought that you developed in early adulthood may still be running loudly in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough or you are too fat, thin, small, tall etc.
If the advice you would give to your younger self is along the lines of ‘relax and appreciate your uniqueness’ or ’don’t let your lack of confidence stop you from going after your dreams’ ask yourself, are you taking that advice today? If not, perhaps you should. In 20 years time you may look back on how you are today and see that the only thing that stopped you from really being happy, and having the relationship you deserve, was a lack of confidence in how you look – what a waste that would be.
How did you deal with the intense emotions of first love? Did you talk to your friends, write poetry or throw yourself into sports? Maybe you were someone who kept it all bottled up inside and felt as though everyone else knew what they were doing but you were lost and alone?
Being able to process both positive and negative feelings in a healthy way is essential for the success of relationships. Some people may be older in years but have never matured emotionally. Numbing feelings with alcohol, food, TV etc. is common because many people never learnt how to process their feelings. What skills do you wish your teenage self had and how could you learn them now?
Did you enjoy your younger days or were you always one step ahead of yourself wondering what was going to happen next? While early adulthood is often a time when people are most carefree and adventurous it is also a time when they may not really appreciate the experiences that they are having because they are not really present.
Are you present and enjoying life today? People who are fulfilled and know how to have fun are often more successful when dating because they are not desperate to find someone before they start enjoying life – they already are. Turn the tables and imagine what advice your teenage self might give to your adult self when it comes to enjoying love and life?
Be a detective
The past often holds the key to difficulties that are in our lives today because we are a product of everything that has ever happened to us. Rather than attempt to shut the door on the past become a detective and see if you can discover some clues to what might be holding you back in your search for love. Through this process you will see how much you have learnt and may become willing to let go beliefs or attitudes you have outgrown.
If you really stuck and unable to make peace with the past try imagining yourself in 20 years time – what advice would your older self give to you now?
We can’t go back and rewrite the past but we can create a different future for ourselves by learning the lessons our experiences taught us.
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