It is undeniable that we only learn from our mistakes. If you can’t say ‘been there, done that – never again!’, then you probably don’t know first hand what it feels like to make one mistake after the other and taking an oath never to do it again because it just hurts too much. But looking back at the countless failures and mistakes made through the years, I couldn’t help but wonder: How much do I know now that I didn’t know back then? And would it make a difference if someone had told me this before, or would I just go and make my own mistakes anyway? Chances are, I would probably go ahead and make the same mistakes, just because I’m stubborn and never listen to anyone. But if I could actually talk to my younger self, then I would definitely have lots to tell me. And for those of you out there that wonder what we do wrong and what lessons we need to learn, here’s a list of the most important ones:
More is Less – Stop overdressing and stop wearing three layers of make-up just to impress a guy. It just doesn’t work like that. The most beautiful look is the natural one. No one said go out in sweatpants, but keep your outfit simple and comfortable and your makeup natural. No guy ever said: “She looked amazing with three layers of foundation on!”. And if they did say that, trust me, it was no compliment!
2. Be Confident – The sexiest thing on a woman is confidence. Wear a smile instead of high heels and believe in yourself. Walk down the street and look straight ahead, not at your feet. Believe in your strengths and embrace your weaknesses. Have a positive outlook and killer attitude. Red lipstick won’t make up for it! 3. You deserve more than you think you do – so many times I settled for less than I was worth, and I probably will do it a few more before I learn. We simply don’t think that we are worth a lot so we just settle for what we get. So many of us just settle and get comfortable in a less than ideal situation, just because we feel like there’s nothing better out there. Newsflash: there is! And you are worth it! (note: L’Oréal did not sponsor me for this!). If he made you cry, he’s not worth your tears – so get up and get out of there. You’ll find something better.
4. If you fancy him, go get him – don’t play hard to get, it’s not attractive and it’s a waste of time and energy. If you like the guy, just tell him. The games are just tiring and pointless. Don’t be shy – just tell him. At the end of the day, if he doesn’t feel the same then you’d rather know sooner rather than later so you can move on. Afterall, nothing ventured nothing gained!
5. If you are not a priority from the beginning, you will never be – I had to find this out in the very hard way. I stuck around Matt for years waiting for him his girlfriend and make me his priority (see Will he ever leave hisgirlfriend for you?). And surprise surprise – it never happened! Don’t waste as many years as I did, life’s too short. Find someone who will make you their priority. 6. A big age difference will catch up on you – It’s all fun and games dating older men – the charm, the experience, the life lessons. But it’s almost inevitable not to get attached (see How much difference does a 20-year age difference really make?). And more often than not, you two will have different goals and priorities in life – or the very least, different time spans. And you will get hurt.
7. Trust your gut feeling – This is something we tend to ignore a lot of the time. The night before Serge broke up with me, I recall myself having a drink with Sarah and saying to her “I don’t know why but for some reason I feel something unsettling. Nothing happened, it’s just a gut feeling”. I almost immediately dismissed it and tried not to think about it. If your gut feeling tells you that something is wrong, then don’t waste any time dismissing it. Look into it – because almost certainly there is something wrong.
8. If he’s too good looking, he’s probably not good in bed – Admittedly this is a vain one. And it is not based on a deep philosophy or theory. It’s almost like an observation I made over the years. If they are too good looking, they never had to look for sex – it just always happened. So they tend to rely too much on their good looks and not skills. So more often than not, they are not the best lovers.
9. There’ no Prince Charming – And no he won’t come to rescue you on his white horse. Learn to rescue yourself! And I cannot emphasize this enough! Stop looking for the perfect guy, he doesn’t exist. And the sooner you realize this, the faster you can start looking for something real. Look for someone to love with all his flaws and imperfections. Find someone with all its negative traits and decide whether you can leave with them or not – that’s the real thing! 10. Don’t expect anyone to love you, if you don’t learn to love yourself first – if you are not happy in your own skin and you are not happy with yourself – why would anyone else be? If don’t love who you are, how do you expect anyone else to do it? No one will do it for you. Learn to love yourself, because that’s the most important relationship you will have for your whole life. All else will just fall into place.
There you have it – an honest conversation that I would have with the younger me, telling her all the lessons I have learnt and all the things she should know before she gets her heart broken over and over again – but she won’t listen to me, she’s too stubborn and she’ll go ahead and get hurt anyway.
What would you say to your younger self? What dating advice would you give to a younger version of you before you go ahead and get hurt?