It’s the best feeling you’ve ever had, and possibly also the worst.
One way or another, our first love has taught us lessons we would be wise to remember—moments we want to relive, habits we want to cultivate, and mistakes we want to avoid.
Perhaps you’ve married your first love.
Or likely, it has become a sporadic memory—part of which you want to reminisce, and another you have chosen to forget.
Here’s what our first love can teach us.
What has yours taught you?
It’s important to be a diplomat.
You have something to say. You want to say it, preferably in a way that won’t offend the other person. There’s always a way to put something (negative) in such a way it doesn’t sound rough or rude. Even, say, you come home to find that the dog he was supposed to babysit for barely an hour has turned your white couch into its toilet and ripped through your Pradas and Guccis. Let’s hope it’s not something that dramatic. Don’t mistake being a diplomat with sugarcoating—you are still speaking the truth. But remember, you can always choose to speak the truth kindly. Firmly but kindly.
Choose your words carefully.
Make every word count. If you are trying to make a point, say it in a non-threatening way. Threats rarely work, especially when used repeatedly. Eventually, they will work against you and worse, you’ll lose the respect of others. If you are about to say something that could affect the relationship in a big way, think about it before you say it. Is this really what you want? If you’re mad, ask to hang up the phone so you can cool down or take a walk. This will give you time to think instead of just acting in the heat of the moment.
Pick your battles.
There are people out there who just love getting into an argument. Either they love talking, listening to themselves talk (these two often come hand in hand), disagreeing, knowing they have won an argument, or they have no hobby. And that’s fine. Go beyond that. Not everything is worth fighting about. Keep your time; don’t let other people waste it.
Every love is different.
Whatever kind of relationship or love you have now, cherish and enjoy it. There won’t be another like it. It’s not to say that you won’t get anything better than what you have now, but it’ll be different. Whatever sweet things you love about your current relationship may never surface in another. And that’s okay, because other sweet things will come around, sometimes even sweeter than anything you’ve ever experienced.
Your first love will always be.
It’s a bittersweet image—the thought of losing your first love, but overcoming it. All the disagreements. The tears. The screaming. The apologies. The making up. The drama. You might find yourself missing it all sometimes, but then feeling glad you don’t have to deal with it anymore. But it’s always a nice feeling to know that you’ve experienced a first love—an irreplaceable keepsake you can hold on to forever.
Give as much as you except to be given.
Don’t except what you don’t give. One of the most significant insights my past relationship has given me is making the extra effort, taking the extra trouble, spending the extra time, to do something for someone—just because. What a nice feeling to have, knowing someone skipped his lunch to drive to you and surprise you with flowers or his presence, or waking up extra early to make you pancakes in the shape of a smiley face? Do something nice and fun for someone, for no absolute reason.
Fight sadness with humor.
This won’t apply to every situation, but usually works when someone is feeling down, disappointed, or just having a bad day. This works miraculously in several ways. First, use humor to avoid a potential argument. If you sense one of you about to get into a quarrel, eliminate the possibility completely by saying something humorous or teasing the other person. Second, use humor to counter an ongoing argument. You may already have been in the middle of a debate, but you can always tame the fire before it gets any wilder with a sense of humor. Third, use humor to brush away any resentment or ill feelings you may have towards one another. It’s always better to rid of them sooner rather than later. Remind each other how insignificant the argument is in the bigger picture.
Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!
We can sometimes be our own worst enemies. We are so hard on ourselves and we find it motivating to criticize ourselves. I am a firm believer that even though some things in life are beyond our control, we create our own destiny, and therefore should be hardworking, responsible, and introspective individuals. But we need to also remind ourselves to celebrate life. Look around you—there’s so much to be thankful for. There’s much to celebrate. Make a big deal out of the little things that make you happy. And do the same for things that make your loved ones happy.
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