I recently finished a book called "Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess up Their Lives" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I had picked up the book for two reasons: 1) the title made me laugh and 2) it seemed like it'd be an interesting and useful read. Boy, was I right! Over the course of my 20 years, I feel like I've learned most of these lessons before, but I really wish I'd read this book when I was younger! This book gives a lot of great, straightforward advice that I think everyone should hear before they get into dating. The tips in the book are targeted toward women, but I think men could also learn a lot from this. In case you can't find the book or don't have the time to read it, I'll give you my thoughts and comments about the book's advice. I do recommend reading it for yourself, though. You'll be so glad you did.
Without further ado:
1. You have to love yourself first.
You have to love yourself before you're able to love other people. This is something I've had to learn in my life, and it's something that Dr. Laura stresses in her book. If you don't love yourself before getting into a relationship, you'll make all kinds of trouble! You can't go into a relationship expecting the other person to make you feel better about yourself. That's too much to ask of them. You need to have the confidence and esteem to deal with your own issues. This will protect you from getting into bad relationships and messing up good ones.
2. Life isn't about romance.
A lot of girls (myself included) could be labeled as "hopeless romantics." They're just dying for a handsome prince to come rescue them and make them live happily ever after. Yeah, that's not how it works. There's so much more to life than romantic relationships! Yes, dating and marriage are wonderful, amazing things, but not in the wrong context. If it isn't the right person at the right time, it isn't worth it. You have more purpose in your life than to be someone's "booty-call" (for lack of a better term). If you make relationships the only important thing in your life, you'll never be satisfied, and you'll never accomplish the things that matter most.
3. Sex doesn't always mean love.
In our culture (and even in Christian circles), sex can be blown way out of proportion. It is a wonderful, special thing, but it doesn't always mean what we want it to. Someone can be intimate and still be distant. If someone wants to sleep with you, he may not have marriage and a long-lasting, healthy relationship in his mind. Again, sex is very important and appropriate, but only in the right context. There are other ways to be (appropriately) intimate. Sex isn't the end-all-be-all of a relationship. Don't make that your end goal. A sexual relationship is just the beginning, not the end.
4. Don't blame men or society.
It is way too easy to push the blame for our bad decisions, mistakes, laziness, and fear onto someone else so we don't have to deal with it. Unfortunately, this doesn't fix the problem. The only person responsible for you is yourself; you can't blame anyone else. People and situations can negatively influence us, but that doesn't give us the right to sit around and ruin our own lives and point fingers at other people. Take responsibility for your own life!
5. You've only got one life.
It's so sad hearing stories of people ruining their lives; it's even worse when you realize that that could easily be you. We only get one chance to get things right, and so many of us blow it, not because we made mistakes in the past that we have to deal with the consequences of, but because we aren't properly dealing with those consequences. Don't settle for miserable; you don't have the time!
I will say for my fellow Christians out there that this isn't a Christian book. Her message isn't about waiting until marriage and honoring God with your relationships. With that in mind, I feel like her advice can be better than some advice that Christian girls get! It's great advice that works for anyone.
I hope you get to read this book sometime. I know I'm glad I did! My future children are definitely reading this.