Have you ever looked back on your past and wished you could just stop time, go back, and give advice to the little girl you see? That's how I feel when I look back at 17-21-year-old Erin. I may have learned a lot, but if I had just been able to go back and give the advice I have now to her, it would have saved her a whole lot of trouble. I've cried my eyes out in my bedroom alone many times over boys who didn't deserve me, degraded me, hurt me, and made me feel like I'd never be loved. I wish I could befriend younger Erin. I wish I could just go back and hold her every time she wrote in her journal about boys who weren't even worth it. I'm crying as a write this entry because of all the memories flooding back of men who I thought I liked or even loved. Men who would never fully love me because they weren't the right guy for me. They weren't who God had in mind. Here are some things I wish I could tell my younger self.
1) A man doesn't always promise to be in your life forever, and that's okay. I've met many men I hoped would be in my life forever and then they left. I thought they were going to stick around and they just didn't. These men are just lessons to learn from and grow from. I wouldn't be the woman I am today without learning from the heart break of men walking about of my life. I loved a man, he promised me forever, and then left me. If he didn't walk out of my life I wouldn't have met some amazing people who also helped me grow. It's all about perspective - there's a time for old things and there's a time for new things. You grow from these people, and sometimes that's all they're meant for.
2) This one is the most important one to tell me. Sex isn't what makes a man love you. He isn't going to just randomly choose you because you decided to get into bed. I had to learn this the hard way. There were two men in my life the last year that I can think of when talking about this. The first one, I thought I loved him. Looking back on it, I didn't, I just was alone and he gave me the attention I craved. I made the decision to sleep with him - the first person I ever slept with and honestly, it messed me up. I thought because I started to have feelings for him that he also did. News flash, he didn't, we were just friends. This ruined it for the rest of the guys because then I was trying to validate my feelings through sex. The second guy was a college friend who I kind of liked, enjoyed hanging out with, and wanted a relationship with. I slept with him as soon as we started hanging out again, and again, got burned in the end because I had feelings and he didn't. Sex doesn't make a guy like you. If a guy's going to like you, he will, you don't have to feel like you have to have sex to validate it.
3) As a second to the sex talk, a friend of mine wrote in and added "just because you love someone and they love you back doesn't mean you have to have sex or do anything you don't want to do." THIS. I always felt like because there was "love" being thrown around that you HAD to have sex. No! You don't have to do it just because you love them. It's interesting to live in a world where hook up culture is a huge deal, and everyone is "Netflixing and chilling." You don't have to have sex. If you feel like you have to just because "you're in love" then it won't be as enjoyable, or fun. Do it when you're ready. You have the option of choosing when it happens, who it happens with, and if it happens or not at all.
4) I was the type of person to meet someone and instantly start to envision a future with them. How weird right? I don't have many guy friends because I always want to date them. Something I had to learn was it is okay to have guy friends. You don't have to date every guy you meet, they're not all going to be potential future husbands, and you don't have to sleep with them all. There's no need to rush into anything - wouldn't it be BEAUTIFUL to have a friendship first and then fall in love? Be friends with them first. Get to know them. Go on dates! At the same time, you don't even have to befriend them to form a good relationship. Good friendships are worth it too! Be friends with the guys and make your small circle a little bigger.
5) When it's over, it is over. Stop trying to pursue them after you get the answer you needed or didn't want. I'm the best at blocking and unblocking men. They mess up and hurt me, I block them, I miss them, and then unblock them. My mom hates when I do this. She's always like "I thought you blocked him?" Well, yes, but uh, no. A lesson I needed and still need to learn is that once it's done, that's it. There's no going back. Especially if they hurt me, stood me up, or completely broke my heart - they're just going to do it again. When it's over then it's time to move on and find happiness in something else.
6) It was always difficult to find happiness in myself to where I'd look for it in men. I'd hope that talking to someone would bring me joy, and though it would for a short period of time, I'd still be stuck with the unhappiness I felt when I was finally alone with my thoughts. A man doesn't validate you or make you whole. A man doesn't complete you, they should compliment you as a person. You don't need a man. It's okay to be happy with yourself in your singleness too.
I wish little Erin could read this post and learn from it. There's things to learn in life and I'm glad I got to learn these things - even if it meant getting hurt in the process. What are some things you wish you could tell your younger self?